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.

Upcoming Event

Outdoor + Snow Show

Presentation Title: Outdoor Retail Trends and Consumer Insights
Presenters: Matt Powell, Senior Vice President and Industry Advisor – U.S. Sports  and Julia Day, Executive Director, Business Development – U.S. Sports
Date: January 30, 2020 at 7 a.m.
Location: Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room #401
Overview: At this must-attend event at Outdoor Retailer and Snow Show, our sports industry analysts will discuss current retail and consumer trends based on our latest data and their own deep industry expertise.

Register Now

Stay current in your industry

Related Blog Posts

Tagged: Sports

Overarching Themes Impacting Sports Retail in 2020
Overarching Themes Impacting Sports Retail in 2020

Broad range issues including trade concerns and the presidential election, as well as the Olympics and eSports are among Matt Powell’s top themes impacting sports retail this year.

Sneakernomics: 2020 Predictions for Sports Retail
Sneakernomics: 2020 Predictions for Sports Retail

Matt Powell outlines his expectations on how the sports industry—from sneakers and activewear, to fitness and sporting goods equipment—will perform in 2020, and what factors will steer the trends.

Strategies for the Running Market to Pick Up the Pace
Strategies for the Running Market to Pick Up the Pace

From technical innovation to capitalizing on emerging gamification opportunities like Zwift’s take on eSports, Dirk Sorenson outlines what should be the running industry’s goals for long and short term success in the months ahead.

Sneakernomics: Profiting with a Purpose
Sneakernomics: Profiting with a Purpose

As consumers continue to let their values and stances on social issues guide purchases, Matt Powell lays out the mounting evidence of how brands and retailers putting purpose first are actually winning in the stock market and in the consumer marketplace.


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.