It’s an early, if incomplete, look at how the world’s largest sportswear company may fare after deliberately wading into a hot political topic.
Online sales of Nike apparel and shoes surged in the four days after quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick became the face of a new advertising campaign. Sales dipped in the same four-day period last year.
Nike’s Kaepernick ad debuted Monday afternoon, a U.S. holiday, drawing immediate praise and ire from celebrities and customers alike.
From Sunday through Wednesday, product orders rose 27 percent, according to digital-commerce researcher Edison Trends, which collects receipt data from more than 200 online vendors. In the same four-day period last year, product orders dropped 2 percent.
It’s an early, if incomplete, look at how the world’s largest sportswear company may fare after deliberately wading into a hot political topic. The decision to feature the former NFL player — he claims he’s been illegally barred from the league for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality — has already drawn multiple criticisms from President Donald Trump.
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On Friday morning Trump tweeted: “What was Nike thinking?”
It’s not a big mystery. Nike thinks the campaign will create more business than it loses.
Two-thirds of Nike’s customers are younger than 35, and it’s an ethnically diverse group. The company is looking to focus more on cities, and the demographic mix suggests outsize support for Kaepernick’s actions.
If the company miscalculated, it probably won’t be obvious for a long time. The short-term data from Edison Trends includes both customers who went out and bought Nike gear to explicitly support the campaign.
It doesn’t account for past Nike customers who say they’ll never buy the company’s shoes or apparel again.
Nike stock dipped 3.2 percent in the first day of trading after the ad was revealed. It’s since rebounded a bit. Its $80.30 closing price on Friday was about 2.2 percent below its pre-Kaepernick level.