SWOT Analysis Nike, Inc.

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Strengths.

  • Nike is a very competitive organization. Phil Knight (Founder and CEO) is often quoted as saying that 'Business is war without bullets.' Nike has a healthy dislike of is competitors. At the Atlanta Olympics, Reebok went to the expense of sponsoring the games. Nike did not. However Nike sponsored the top athletes and gained valuable coverage.
  • Nike has no factories. It does not tie up cash in buildings and manufacturing workers. This makes a very lean organization. Nike is strong at research and development, as is evidenced by its evolving and innovative product range. They then manufacture wherever they can produce high quality product at the lowest possible price. If prices rise, and products can be made more cheaply elsewhere (to the same or better specification), Nike will move production.
  • Nike is a global brand. It is the number one sports brand in the World. Its famous 'Swoosh' is instantly recognisable, and Phil Knight even has it tattooed on his ankle.

Weaknesses.

  • The organization does have a diversified range of sports products. However, the income of the business is still heavily dependent upon its share of the footwear market. This may leave it vulnerable if for any reason its market share erodes.
  • The retail sector is very price sensitive. Nike does have its own retailer in Nike Town. However, most of its income is derived from selling into retailers. Retailers tend to offer a very similar experience to the consumer. Can you tell one sports retailer from another? So margins tend to get squeezed as retailers try to pass some of the low price competition pressure onto Nike.

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Opportunities.

  • Product development offers Nike many opportunities. The brand is fiercely defended by its owners whom truly believe that Nike is not a fashion brand. However, like it or not, consumers that wear Nike product do not always buy it to participate in sport. Some would argue that in youth culture especially, Nike is a fashion brand. This creates its own opportunities, since product could become unfashionable before it wears out i.e. consumers need to replace shoes.
  • There is also the opportunity to develop products such as sport wear, sunglasses and jewellery. Such high value items do tend to have associated with them, high profits.
  • The business could also be developed internationally, building upon its strong global brand recognition. There are many markets that have the disposable income to spend on high value sports goods. For example, emerging markets such as China and India have a new richer generation of consumers. There are also global marketing events that can be utilised to support the brand such as the World Cup (soccer) and The Olympics.

Threats.

  • Nike is exposed to the international nature of trade. It buys and sells in different currencies and so costs and margins are not stable over long periods of time. Such an exposure could mean that Nike may be manufacturing and/or selling at a loss. This is an issue that faces all global brands.
  • The market for sports shoes and garments is very competitive. The model developed by Phil Knight in his Stamford Business School days (high value branded product manufactured at a low cost) is now commonly used and to an extent is no longer a basis for sustainable competitive advantage. Competitors are developing alternative brands to take away Nike's market share.
  • As discussed above in weaknesses, the retail sector is becoming price competitive. This ultimately means that consumers are shopping around for a better deal. So if one store charges a price for a pair of sports shoes, the consumer could go to the store along the street to compare prices for the exactly the same item, and buy the cheaper of the two. Such consumer price sensitivity is a potential external threat to Nike.

'If you have a body, you are an athlete' - Bill Bowerman said this a couple of decades ago. The guy was right. It defines how he viewed the world, and it defines how Nike pursues its destiny. Ours is a language of sports, a universally understood lexicon of passion and competition. A lot has happened at Nike in the 30 years. Read more...

Disclaimer:
This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.