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August 29, 2019

Brand Manager Key Insights (From the Top Sneaker Brands)

by Fiona Laughton

Are Nike and Adidas really the top sneaker brands? How do some of the other sneaker brands perform? We have the brand insights that will provide answers.

Key Insights for Brand Managers (From the World’s Most Popular Sneaker Brands)

Some of the world’s most iconic and best-known brands are sneaker brands. Adidas, Nike and New Balance are all household names and are just as popular with professional athletes as they are for everyday lifestyle and streetwear consumers. In 2019 to-date, leading brand Nike boasted a net worth of $15.2 billion USD. With its sneakers worn by some of the world’s most famous sportspeople and pop stars, as a brand it has evolved from mere fashion to one of the most regarded sneaker brands in the global market. So, while it may be easy to pinpoint the top sneaker brands, which are some of the lesser-known sneaker brands and how do they compare brand performance-wise?

We’ll look at how these lesser-known brands are stacking up against the top sneaker brands using aided brand awareness (that is, expressed and unprompted knowledge about the brand), brand consideration (the consumer’s likelihood of purchasing this brand, based on their predisposition towards the brand), how the brands are performing between male and females and how income level affects the brand’s perception.

Top Sneaker Brands and the General Population

Brand Awareness

First, let's examine aided brand awareness and take a look at how the top 6 global sneaker brands are performing within the general population demographics.

Aided Brand Awareness General Population Sneaker Brands Brand Tracking Results

Nike tops the aided brand awareness results performing at 96%, followed closely by Adidas as 92%. Then comes New Balance performing at 69%, followed by Asics at 51%. K Swiss (41%) and Saucony (25%) rounding off the top 6.

The next 6 top sneaker brands include Mizuno (16%), Allbirds (5%), On Running (3%), Atoms (3%), Arkk (2%) and Greats (2%).

Brand Consideration

How likely are consumers to purchase these sneaker brands for the first time and how are these sneaker brands performing accordingly? The results are in for brand consideration. At the top again is Nike, which is performing at 83%, followed closely by Adidas at 75%.

Brand Consideration General Population Sneaker Brands Brand Tracking Results

New Balance again ranks third, at 62%. Emerging Brooklyn sneaker brand Greats rises to fourth position at 51%, just edging out Asics (50%) and Saucony (also 50%).

The next 6 top sneaker brands include Allbirds, On Running, Atoms, Arkk, K Swiss, and Mizuno.

Sneaker Brands and Gender

What the consumer’s gender have to do with brand performance? Understanding your target and niche audience and how they perceive your brand is key to unlocking a brand’s true potential. Sneaker brands rely on both target and niche audiences in order to tailor their marketing campaigns accordingly. With the next lot of data, discover how the top sneaker brands perform between male and female consumers. From here on, we will only focus on the top 6 brands.

Male Brand Awareness

Aided Brand Awareness Male Sneaker Brands Brand Tracking Results

For male consumers, Nike tops the aided brand awareness ranking at 94%, followed closely by Adidas at 89%, New Balance in third place at 65% and then Asics at 50%.

The rest of the top six is made up of K Swiss (40%) and Saucony (21%).

Male Brand Consideration

How do the sneaker brands perform for male consumers regarding brand consideration? Our data does show some significant differences.

Brand Consideration Male Sneaker Brands Brand Tracking Results

Although Nike and Adidas again take the top two positions (at 82% and 75% respectively) with New Balance at 66%. Greats jump into the top 6, ranking fourth at 51%, with Asics (51%) and On Running (50%) rounding out the top 6.

The key differences here include Greats and On Running ranking well for brand consideration but less so for aided brand awareness. Brand managers could, therefore, target a campaign for interested new consumers accordingly.

Female Brand Awareness

As a brand, Nike invested a large amount of money into targeted advertising for their female consumers including their celebration of women in sport in their ‘Dream Crazier’ campaign, a Nike film narrated by legendary tennis star and brand ambassador Serena Williams as well as their successful ‘She Runs The Night’ series of global running events aimed at women.

It’s therefore no surprise that Nike is dominating the aided brand awareness segmentation with their female consumers, ranking high at 98%.

Aided Brand Awareness Female Sneaker Brands Brand Tracking Results

Following closely is Adidas at (95%), in third position New Balance at 78%, Asics in fourth place at 78%, and K-Swiss (50%) and Saucony (35%) rounding at the top 6.

Female Brand Consideration

Similarly, as we saw with the male consumer results to brand consideration, there were also some interesting results reported from female consumers.

Brand Consideration Female Sneaker Brands Brand Tracking Results

Nike once again topped out at 81%, with Adidas not far behind with 75% and New Balance with 66%. Greats again rose to fourth position reporting on 51%, Asics equalled out at 51% and Arkk with 50%.

What can we see here between the male and female results? Nike leads across all categories but peaks significantly amongst new female consumers with 98% brand consideration. For male and female consumers, sneaker brand Greats does not make the top six for unaided brand awareness but ranks in fourth position ranking for brand consideration, this newer brand gaining traction against some of the more established brands. On Running ranked well in the male category whilst Arkk ranked better amongst female consumers. Sneaker brand managers could use this data to segment and target their campaigns accordingly.

Sneaker Brands and Income

Understanding your consumer’s level of income will give you valuable insights into how to position your sneaker brand and alongside consumer gender, is another key demographic insight into both your target and niche audience. Looking at the results, we’d expect to see significant changes in the aided brand awareness and brand consideration as we compared high-, medium- and low-income levels of data, particularly considering the pricing point of the top sneaker brands.

High Income Brand Awareness

Aided Brand Awareness High Income Sneaker Brands Brand Tracking Results

Medium Income Brand Awareness

Aided Brand Awareness Medium Income Sneaker Brands Brand Tracking Results

Low Income Brand Awareness

Aided Brand Awareness Low Income Sneaker Brands Brand Tracking Results

Nike again performed strongly across all income levels. It ranked 98% across both high and medium incomes and dropping only to 94% in the low income category. Nike, therefore, topped the aided brand awareness data across all three income streams! Adidas followed a similar trend, ranking second (and closely behind Nike) across all three income levels.

High Income Brand Consideration

Brand Consideration High Income Sneaker Brands Brand Tracking Results

Medium Income Brand Consideration

Brand Consideration Medium Income Sneaker Brands Brand Tracking Results

Low Income Brand Consideration

Brand Consideration Low Income Sneaker Brands Brand Tracking Results

Sneaker brands for brand consideration also followed a similar pattern across all three income streams. Again Nike ranked top, followed closely by Adidas and New Balance. Greats, Asics and Arkk ranked in the same order to round off the top six. Overall the data we’ve gathered indicates there was a low difference in ranking across all income streams and may not be such a crucial demographic to brand managers and their campaigns.


Whilst global legacy sneaker brands Nike and Adidas continue to retain their existing market share as well as attracting new consumers, our data gives sneaker brand managers important insights into how some of the lesser-known and emerging brands are performing. Our data highlights that these key differences between brand awareness and brand consideration exist between the brands themselves, not the audiences. Some small differences between audiences were noticed within the gender demographic which could inspire more brands to follow Nike’s lead to do more marketing campaigns targeting gender. Understanding these key differences between brand awareness and brand consideration and using brand tracking to measure this key data, is just the detail you’ll need to get your brand ahead of the rest.

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