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NPD’s Matt Powell Explains Why Michael Jordan Still Dominates-Forbes

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Sneaker companies must distinguish the winners from the losers, and stay ahead of quickly changing fashion trends.

Source: Why Michael Jordan Still Dominates The Basketball Shoe Market

NPD’s Sneaker Guru shares some great insider info on how the basketball market works in this Forbes interview. Very cool stuff especially the insight that New York makes up 25% of sales for Nike.

There are two sections of the interview that I want to analyze (this wouldn’t be the more in-depth sneakerhead site if I didn’t do this). First is the fact that the discussion on LeBron’s recent championship didn’t increase sales of LeBron shoes. I would have to ask if the shoe sale decrease/increase was in regard to LeBron 13 or LeBrons overall. LeBron didn’t wear the 13. He wore the Solider 10 that is pictured in the video and that shoe has literally become the flagship and has sold fairly well in the secondary market and through SNKRS and NDC. What is really telling is that both Kyrie and KD have had a new version of their signature shoes, along with a post career Kobe, release in 2016. The LeBron 14 hasn’t surfaced and I have to think that is because the Soldier 10 is a solid performer. The shoe has sold out in variety of colorways on NDC. This is because the shoe is only 130 vs 200/pair and it is a more unique shoe since it doesn’t have shoestrings at all. The shoe also looks much better than the LeBron 13, or 12 or 11.

The second point I’d like to look at is the importance of Kevin Durant’s move to Golden State. There have been analysis done on the income level of people who purchase Under Armour. That number is skewed by the fact that Golden State is near Silicon Valley. On my platform the majority of sales of Steph’s shoe came from California. I mention this to say that the Curry 3 benefits from the Warriors success (NPD actually has a whitesheet breakdown of their prediction of how that shoe would perform. There is link at the bottom of this post to NPD). It’s logical to predict that KD’s shoe will perform better by leaving small market OKC and joining the possible NBA champion.

Durant’s move combined with Nike’s decision to adjusts prices on the KD 9 has helped with the sale of Durant’s footwear. The KD 8 was one of the worst performing shoes for KD in the secondary market and obviously overall since it helped contribute to poor numbers in basketball. I have a chart I recently posted of my September 1 – November 30 sales. I often find my sales mirror the greater population so I consider the relationship of my site to the national numbers a micro/macro analysis. I’ve seen an incredible spike in the sale of Curry 3 and KD’s since early November.

I’m never one to doubt the numbers, but I definitely think the Golden State move combined with the price adjustment has benefitted KD. Matt Powell is correct though that product is king. When LeBron moved to Miami, his footwear line exploded with LeBron 6. The shoe was a masterpiece and had a lot of off court appeal. The last three years of LeBron shoes have been sluggish which aligns with what Powell states has happened to the basketball category and the shoes had very little off court appeal. The same thing goes for KD’s shoes the last three years, so it’s hard to know if KD’s move has helped sales (for me) or is it a better design and price.

Dang I just countered my own analysis… smh. Info from NPD will do that to you. Anyway, take about 6 minutes and check out this great interview by Mike Ozanian with Matt Powell of NPD.