Home Blog 2019 Nike Ends Amazon Pilot
Nov 26, 2019

Sneakernomics: Nike Ends Amazon Pilot

Subscribe to our blog

Here is what I wrote about the Nike/Amazon “pilot program” two years ago, when the buzz around this deal began. Things turned out pretty much as I expected.

Nike began this pilot under the premise that Amazon would clean up its marketplace, where unauthorized and unaccountable sellers trade in Nike products. Sometimes these products are not as advertised. It was an admirable goal, but one that proved impossible to achieve.

As I wrote in 2017, “Amazon marketplace is a challenging business for brands. Since the sales are done by so many individual sellers, the brand has no control over their image, pricing or quality. Brands across the spectrum are trying to find a way to rein in the marketplace.”

From the onset of this pilot program, it was apparent that no improvements were being made on Amazon, as unauthorized Nike products continued to be sold there. As I predicted, the product assortment sold by Nike on Amazon was very moderate and focused on opening price-points, as Nike sought to protect itself if the pilot failed.

Some analysts have said that ending the Amazon program will benefit Footlocker, but in my opinion nothing can be further from the truth. If there are beneficiaries here, it will most likely be mid-market retailers like Kohl’s and Famous Footwear, as the Amazon assortment most closely aligns with those types of retailers.

Watching Amazon’s Nike sales through NPD’s receipt-based Checkout lense, its sales began to decline during the spring. My assumption is that Nike was intentionally pulling back on Amazon and anticipated this announcement.

I do not believe that this decision will have a material impact on Nike’s results. Nike will be able to easily make up the shortfall through their direct-to-consumer platform and with their best partners. Given Nike’s best-in-class e-commerce platforms and dynamic use of apps, Nike will not skip a beat.

Nonetheless, the problems inherent in Amazon’s marketplace remain for Nike. It will be interesting to see their next move to try and clean up the marketplace “wild west.”

Will other brands follow suit? Some brands need the traffic on Amazon to drive results, regardless of what it does to their brand image. But brands with a well-developed and first class e-commerce platform probably do not need to sell on Amazon. The next few months should be interesting to watch.

Stay current in your industry

Related Blog Posts

Tagged: Sports

Sneakernomics: Q3 Team Sports, Golf, and Fitness Equipment Update
Sneakernomics: Q3 Team Sports, Golf, and Fitness Equipment Update

Based on the third quarter results, Matt Powell explains why he is optimistic about how the team sports, golf, and fitness equipment markets will fare during this holiday season – and which products are ripe for growth.

VSCO Girls: How A Consumer Group Born on Social Media Has Cross-Industry Implications
VSCO Girls: How A Consumer Group Born on Social Media Has Cross-Industry Implications

The VSCO girl subculture took hold this summer and has created opportunities for products and brands in a variety of industries including apparel, beauty, fashion accessories, footwear, sporting goods and technology. We asked our industry analysts to weigh in regarding the implications and opportunities for their industries.

Let’s Grow the Pie, Not Fight for the Last Slice
Let’s Grow the Pie, Not Fight for the Last Slice

The NFL’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods’ investments in flag football, and cycling’s strategic focus on e-bikes are examples pointing to opportunities to find new growth by boosting interest in a category and inviting participation versus direct brand competition.

Sneakernomics: Holiday 2019 Predictions for Sports Retail
Sneakernomics: Holiday 2019 Predictions for Sports Retail

Matt Powell predicts that the lack of truly “hot” items is a void that will put pressure on the athletic footwear and activewear markets. On the other hand, he anticipates a merrier performance stemming from smaller brands in the space, and from some outdoor and sports equipment categories.


Subscribe and get key market trends and insights relevant to your industry each month.

We will not sell your information. View privacy notice.

Follow Us

© The NPD Group, Inc.