From Snapchat to StockX: Nike still reigns supreme with Gen Z

Friday, October 8, 2021 by Robinhood Snacks |

King of the sneaks... Nike is officially the No. 1 footwear and apparel brand among teens, according to Piper Sandler’s Gen Z survey. It’s held the top spot in both categories for the past decade. The competition:

  • Runner-up: American Eagle took second — the same spot as the past two years. Converse, owned by Nike, came in fourth.
  • Big spender: Gen Z makes up nearly half of shoppers in the US and has a whopping $140B in spending power. Nike’s taken note.

Slam-dunk strategy… Thanks to social media (Nike is IG’s most followed brand with 177M fans) and the rise of “sneakerheads,” Nike has shown it's not just the sponsor of your favorite NFL team. For years, it’s been tailoring its products and reach to Gen Z:

  • Virtual fits: Since 2019, Fortnite fans have been able to purchase Nike skins and branded clothes for their avatars.
  • Resale: 60% of Gen Z males use StockX, a sneaker-bidding marketplace where a rare pair of Jordans can cost $500 or more.
  • AR Yoga: Nike’s augmented-reality feature allowed Snapchat and TikTok users to experience everything from yoga to dancing. (Snapchat was teens’ No. 1 social-media app.)
  • Gen J’s: This year, NBA player Zion Williamson became the first Gen Z player to design a shoe for Nike’s popular Air Jordan line.

Nike is like the Beyoncé of retail brands… and Gen Z is the music industry. Similar to how Queen B has resonated for decades and across generations, Nike has stayed relevant by reaching young customers where they are and leaning into styles that click. While Fortnite and Snapchat are in today, Nike will need to keep refocusing its strategy as social hubs shift.