Benchmarking example - Nike

Nike is a company specializing in the ready-to-wear apparel, sports equipment and accessories. The group was founded in 1971 and experienced a large increase in its turnover towards the end of 2020 and during 2021. Indeed, with the resumption of multiple sporting events, after the end of lockdown restrictions, demand for products from the brand has continued to increase.

Benchmarking example - Nike

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In 2021, the brand is the undisputed leader of the segment in a large number of countries. Also, this same year, Nike generated more than 12 billion dollars per quarter, against approximately 6 billion in 2020. Online sales also represent 4.5 billion dollars in 2021, an increase of 73%. The group thus recorded a profit of 1.5 billion dollars. China and the United States are countries in which the group maintains a constant presence, with ever-increasing turnover and results. Thus, over the period 2020/2021, more than 44 billion dollars in turnover was obtained, this includes the Converse brand, whose turnover is 2.2 million dollars. The overall turnover is increasing by 19% compared to last year, and more than 30% on sales. North America is the territory with the highest turnover, with $ 17.17 billion in 2021. The most popular categories for consumers are footwear, with $ 28 billion and textiles with $12. 8 billion.

Why a benchmark?

Establishing a benchmark makes it possible to better identify the opportunities that may be offered to the group at a given time. It is also useful for understanding and analyzing the clientele, which is increasingly demanding and volatile. A benchmark makes it possible to set performance objectives by taking into account direct and indirect competition, the objectives are, therefore, more adequate and achievable. The strengths and weaknesses of the company can be highlighted as well as the management of change. Finally, it helps to make the business more competitive.

Nike benchmark

The stages of a benchmark
• Identify points of comparison
• Analyze and rank the competitors in order of importance
• Know the trends of the current market
• Communicate the benchmark results to partners
• Establish an action plan
• Monitor the results for a certain period to adjust actions if necessary


1) Identify points of comparison
Nike is a strong company renowned throughout the world, which has a long history that has enabled it to gradually increase its market share in all territories. Nevertheless, carrying out a benchmark is useful because the competition arrives quickly, and a number of changes.
Thus, Nike is today recognized for multiple characteristics and establishes points of comparison with the competition compared to the latter. What do others offer regarding technical products or ready-to-wear?
Nike puts forward its range of sports clothing, which adapts as well to the sport as to the city. How do the others try to stand out? Also, compare the strategies on social networks because Nike is present on all of these sites.

2) Identification of the competition
Nike has various types of competitors. The direct competitors are known under the names of Puma, Adidas, or even Reebok and Asics.
The indirect competitors are Decathlon and Intersport; Decathlon is the most dangerous for the group to date.
In this step, Nike defines the competitive advantages of each of them and analyzes what can impact consumer choice. It is a question of promotions, of geographical territory, but also the target audience.
Thus, Decathlon relies on its own brand products, which constitute more than 80% of sales, including stores, sites and products that are often guaranteed for life. Adidas is more focused on sportswear and has been part of all the biggest sporting events around the world for many years. Events have thus become, over time, their trademark. The brand is particularly present in the world of football since it supplies the balls for the French team.
Puma operates a strategy based on the sponsorship of personalities in order to gain notoriety and especially to counter giants like Nike. Over time, Puma has changed to become younger and more dynamic, with a gradual increase in the target audience, working with celebrities like Rihanna, in particular.
Once the competition is analyzed, Nike can understand each other's strengths and weaknesses and develop a more competitive strategy by emulating the best but keeping its trademark.


3) Examining trends
Nike must, to counter competition in the market, know how to analyze trends, that is to say, the purchasing behavior of consumers, expectations and needs which are likely to change quite quickly in the current context.
Thus, the internet plays a key role in 2021 for examining these trends, as consumers are increasingly connected, and they will be even more so in the years to come.
Customers have changed a lot in recent years, and so have consumption habits. Indeed, the examination of trends shows an increase in internet sales and the search for the best promotions or prices. With this in mind, Nike offers the widest possible distribution policy so that its products are available in the majority of sports outlets, but also on sites such as Zalando, in particular, or Spartoo. The group has also developed an application allowing consumers to order directly on their mobile, which perfectly matches current trends.
It should also be noted that the group has a head start thanks to its worldwide reputation. The group is focusing on aesthetics and performance, with a large number of models, in all prices and in all ranges. The brand plays an important role in purchasing decisions and is, above all, one of the 17 best-known brands in the world across all sectors, which gives it a lead over its competitors.


4) Communication of results
Once the entire benchmark has been completed, Nike must communicate the results to the group's partners and employees. This makes it possible to reach the new stage, which will be the development of the action plan. The most important thing is to set up recommendation grids for all those involved.
Despite its obvious notoriety and success, Nike must pay close attention to future goals, as new competitors may enter the segment and dethrone the biggest. The results must be clear and make it possible to put forward achievable objectives. In the case of Nike, the company gives its results in full transparency to encourage consumers to trust them and be ever more competitive.


5) Developing an action plan
Nike is a company that wants to work for the protection of the planet in the long term by using more eco-responsible materials to achieve their productions. This is part of a strategic logic so that consumers and customers feel closer to the group. The well-being of employees is also highlighted, with a tendency to increase wages. The specific actions show Nike's willingness to adapt to trends and consumer needs. The objectives defined do not need to be numerous. They must be clear and precise and, above all, achievable. They should make it possible to stand out even more from competitors.


6) Monitoring results
Establishing a benchmark without monitoring the results would be pointless. Indeed, once the actions have been determined and put in place, Nike monitors its objectives and corrects them as needed. Trends can change very quickly, and in such a competitive sector, vigilance is required.


Nike is a rising company, which is considered the undisputed leader in ready-to-wear and sports accessories and equipment. Nevertheless, the benchmark of the competition reveals that certain competitors, direct or indirect, can always take more place on the market, which obliges the American giant to remain on its guard. It is indeed important to keep in mind the needs of consumers and to offer innovations to avoid loss of interest and be more competitive than its rivals.


Sources: Statista, Journal du Net