Focus on direct-to-consumer ticks the boxes for Nike –


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  • Q3 revenues for Nike, Inc increased 3% to US$10.4bn compared to the prior year, and were down 1% on a currency-neutral basis.
  • Revenues for the Nike brand were $9.8bn, a decrease of 2% on a currency-neutral basis. 
  • Nike brand digital sales increased 59%, or 54% on a currency-neutral basis, with strong double-digit increases in all geographies.
  • Revenues for Converse were up 8% to $570m. 
  • Net income was $1.4bn, up 71%, while gross margin increased 130 basis points to 45.6%.
Total sales for the third quarter ended 28 February rose by US$250m to $10.4bn

Total sales for the third quarter ended 28 February rose by US$250m to $10.4bn

Nike’s fortunes have been lifted by growth in Greater China as sales in the region in Q3 FY2020/21 rose by 51.3%, though the comparative period last year was impacted by Covid-19 store closures. Revenue in North America, however, fell by 10.4% as it faced major supply chain issues and continued to suffer from weakened consumer confidence.

Total Q3 sales rose by US$250m to $10.4bn, contributing to an impressive year-to-date performance of 3.6% growth, with Nike’s leading sportswear proposition and strong brand identity offering it protection from the worst impacts of the pandemic, as consumers have prioritised comfort and fitness.

A key component of Nike’s sales growth is its greater focus on direct-to-consumer (DTC) channels, with a 20% increase in Nike Direct revenue in Q3 on a reported basis, making up 38.5% of its total sales. This is a smart strategic move that will benefit the brand in the long term as it gives it greater control over its brand image and connection to consumers. 

The brand’s strong digital proposition is essential to this DTC growth, with its highly competitive online offer featuring a slick website and free home delivery for Nike members.

Nike is also smart to use digital channels to forge greater engagement with its shoppers, through its Trained podcast and array of fitness apps that will have surged in popularity during lockdowns.

Nike also has its finger on the pulse in terms of being aware of consumer beliefs and has been able to position itself as a brand that cares about diversity, inclusion, and social justice. For instance, its recent major social media campaign featuring sponsored athletes Serena Williams and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce to promote its Nike (M) maternity range that launched late last year is a pioneering move in the sportswear market and has been met with widespread praise.

Nike has also recognised the importance of sustainability, with the release of its Impact Report in early March revealing its 2025 targets across numerous ESG criteria, cementing the brand’s positive reputation, and ensuring it remains popular among young shoppers in particular.

Last month, Nike acquired data integration platform start-up Datalogue as part of its consumer-led digital transformation.

It has also recently outlined a series of senior leadership changes to continue the momentum of its Consumer Direct Acceleration (CDA).

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