Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Nike To Push Women’s Running Products And Digital Fitness

When it comes to sportswear, the sale of women’s clothing in the UK may well be going to outstrip that of men’s sportswear. The example of outstanding women’s sportsmanship at the London 2012 Olympics will no doubt have played its part here. Fitness and sporting achievement are things many people are all starting to take more and more seriously.

Nike, the world’s biggest sportswear brand, is looking to take advantage of this by heavily targeting women in its running category for 2013. Nike saw a 7 per cent rise in group revenue in the three months leading up to November. This has been attributed in part to the double-digit growth from its running division which it believes has been what it calls a ‘growth accelerator’ for its womens’ products.

Charlie Denson is president of the Nike brand, and has said that the running category will be growing organically through marketing and ramping up investment in product innovation throughout 2013: “If you look at the combined strength of women’s running, training and sportswear year-to-date, it is outgrowing our men’s business. Better still, our women’s business will be bringing a lot of new energy into the retail space this spring and on into the summer.

“I continue to see a lot of opportunities for (the running) category. Participation rates are growing around the world, our performance innovation is stronger than ever and apparel continues to bring new energy to the consumer.”

Basically, Nike’s strategy for the next year will all revolve around making its running, training and sportswear categories more appealing to women. Alongside this, it will be growing its range in the increasingly competitive digital fitness category. In the sector it already offers its FuelBand sports performance monitor, and in 2013 it is set to launch an accelerator scheme for start-ups to develop their own digital fitness products. All the major players in sporting goods and apparel are stepping up their activities in this area so it is certainly a key focus for future development.

According to Mark Parker, president and chief executive of Nike: “We are just beginning to tap into the potential of digital technology, but we believe the opportunity to drive growth long-term is incredible, and we will be investing accordingly to capture that potential in product, in brand and e-commerce.”

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