Nike Online Sales Grew 31% Over Labor Day Weekend & Kaepernick Ad Campaign

Seattle #1 city for highest Nike sales growth, followed by San Jose, Indianapolis, and San Francisco.

Key Takeaways

• This year between Sunday, September 2nd and Tuesday, September 4th, Nike’s online sales grew 31% vs.17% last year during the same period.

• Sales peaked Tuesday, September 4th then decreased 18% by Sunday, September 9th, returning to around the same level as before the Nike Kaepernick ad.

• From Monday, September 3rd (Labor Day) to Sunday, September 9th, Nike’s online sales fell only 9% vs. 32% last year during the same period.

• Cities that saw the biggest increase in Nike sales are Seattle at 20%, San Jose at 14%, Indianapolis at 10%, San Francisco at 10%, and New York at 9%. Dallas-Fort Worth showed the largest drop in sales, at -21%.

• States that have seen the biggest increase in online Nike sales vs. August are Maryland, New Jersey, Alaska, Delaware and Massachusetts.

This past Labor Day there was speculation that Nike’s controversial Colin Kaepernick ad campaign could lead to a drop in sales, capturing worldwide press attention across outlets like CNN and The Wall Street Journal. Edison Trends investigated sales of Nike products over the holiday and its research, at this point, does not seem to support that theory. In fact, Nike sales grew 31% from Sunday through Tuesday over Labor Day this year, besting 2017's comparative 17% increase.

Did the debut of Nike's Colin Kaepernick ad campaign on Labor Day 2018 have an impact on purchases?

Nike’s 2018 late summer sales show much the same trend as last year’s, with order volume decreasing slightly going into late August. The similarity decreases coming out of Labor Day Weekend, however, with sales seeing a bigger bump on Monday and Tuesday than in the past.

Following Nike’s Monday afternoon debut of the latest iteration of their “Just Do It” campaign, featuring Colin Kaepernick, fan discontent and boycott threats grabbed headlines - and even commentary from the President. But the research confirms that, at least for now, the company is suffering no negative repercussions in sales.

Both this year and last year, online sales of Nike products across the web hit a low point on Sunday of Labor Day weekend, rising again on Monday and Tuesday. But this year, they climbed 31% between Sunday and Tuesday, besting 2017’s 17%.

During the week, Nike continued to perform better than expected. While in 2017, online sales decreased 32% from Labor Day through the following Sunday, in 2018 they decreased just 9%. Between Monday, when the Colin Kaepernick ad campaign debuted, and Tuesday, sales increased 12%.

Figures 1a and 1b. "1x" means "1x the number of Nike product orders sold on August 1, 2017." Data collected from receipts from over 200 online vendors, using "Nike" as a search term.

In which cities did Nike see online sales increase the most?

We looked at the top 20 urban areas in the US by population, comparing online sales of Nike products from Labor Day onward to their levels in late August, across more than 200 online retailers. Among these top 20 cities, Seattle saw the biggest increase at 20%, followed by San Jose at 14%, Indianapolis at 10%, San Francisco at 10%, and New York at 9%. Dallas-Fort Worth showed the largest drop in sales, at -21%.

Figure 2: "Sales" refers to online sales of Nike products across the web, in terms of total number of orders made by customers. The period of Labor Day (September 3) through September 12 was compared to the period of August 20-29 (the most recent monday-through-wednesday-of-following week period).

In which states did Nike see online sales increase the most?

Last year, online sales of Nike products across the web declined throughout August and into the first week of September. This year they followed the same pattern — however, they declined less than they had in 2017, and some states saw an increase. In 2017, daily sales for Labor Day and the week following were 20% lower on average than they had been in August and pre-Labor Day September. This year, the average decline was only 10%.

States that saw the biggest increase in sales from August are Maryland, New Jersey, Alaska, Delaware and Massachusetts. Idaho saw the highest post-Labor Day decrease, followed by Vermont, Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, and West Virginia.

Figure 3: Comparison periods were August 1 - day before Labor day and Labor day - Monday after labor day for both years. "Change" column shows percent change in average number of orders per day between the first period and the second period in 2018.

*The data shown is based on a sample of anonymized and aggregated e-receipts from more than 3 million consumers in the United States.

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