How The Pandemic Expedited Nike's Strategy

How The Pandemic Expedited Nike's Strategy

Nike is one of the largest clothing and shoe manufacturers in the world. The company announced their earnings; beating all analyst expectations. Nike reported impressive growth and numbers from their digital businesses.

Earnings call recap:

  • Nike reported $10.59 billion in revenue as opposed to $9.15 billion that was expected
  • Their digital sales are up 82%
  • North American sales were down 2%
  • Sales in China are up 2%
  • 90% of the stores globally are now open.

Historically, Nike has always relied on brick and mortar. When the pandemic happened, they had no other option but to accelerate their digital strategy. 


Nike’s online sales rose 82% in the first quarter, which now accounts for 30% of Nike’s overall revenue of which they hope to achieve by 2023.

The company has been working to convert their digital consumer purchase point apps such as SNKRS into line items of their income statement. The pandemic helped, but it expedited what was already underway.

From their revenue perspective, Nike’s growth isn’t too concerning. Analysts expect Nike to lose money, which they barely did as they we’re offering mega sales and increasing incentives to encourage the market to spend during a period of uncertainty.

Nike was able to match their revenue numbers from a year ago. They did this despite facing the closure of the majority of their stories. This quarter is a major victory considering the circumstances the world is currently in.

Nike’s new digital-forward strategy aligns with their Consumer Direct Acceleration (CDA) plan, which was announced in June. According to Nike, “CDA is a new digitally empowered phase of NIKE’s strategy to unlock long-term growth and profitability.”

The Nike CDA plan includes a more “seamless consumer experience” and a unified technology foundation that will be more nimble and will more easily meet consumer needs across the Nike ecosystem.

The CDA is the latest effort by Nike to accelerate their direct-to-consumer (DTC) position in the market, an area the brand has been emphasizing in recent years, with double-digit sales increases as a result.

Takeaway: Companies now more than ever are being forced to adapt to an e-commerce strategy with a high emphasis on experience and personalization for customers. For sustained success and longevity, brands will have to innovate their digital products and match it with an experience that fosters customer participation.

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