James Roy
James Roy

After the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 Adidas lost traction in China. But it has come back, and is even beating Nike in the second-largest sports wear market. Retail analyst James Roy tells Quartz how Adidas did that.


Adidas can take heart in one important metric: the speed of its market share growth in the Greater China region (which includes Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan). There, at least, Adidas has outperformed Nike—and significantly closed the gap. From the beginning of 2011 to the start of 2015, Adidas improved from 8.5% to 13.8% of market share, compared to 11.2% to 14.3% for Nike, according to Euromonitor.

That’s important because, after the United States, China has the world’s largest sportswear market, well ahead of Japan, Brazil, and Germany. In the first nine months of last year, Adidas’s sales in Greater China grew 18.4% compared to 2014.

Adidas lost ground in China when it experienced oversupply problems following the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which didn’t spur market growth as much as anticipated. But the company “caught up pretty impressively over the last five years” James Roy, a retail analyst with China Market Research Group, told Quartz. It accomplished this partly, he said, by tightening links with sellers to ensure it was “resupplying the products that were really selling the best.”

More in Quartz.

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