US-based Nike is the world leader in athletic footwear and apparel. The company, which is traded as NKE on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has acquired several footwear and apparel companies over its history such as Cole Haan, Bauer Hockey, Converse, Hurley International, Starter and Umbro. The Nike swoosh is one of the most recognized logos, as well as one of the most reputable athletic sponsors in the world. Nike employed approximately 56,500 people and operated more than 850 retail stores worldwide in 2014. Much of Nike's success can be attributed to the brands worldwide marketing campaign which uses sponsorship agreements with celebrity athletes, professional sports teams and college athletic programs to use their products for the promotion of their technology and design.
Over the years, the sporting goods industry has seen many mergers and acquisitions. Key players in the industry include Reebok, Adidas, Puma and of course Nike, with the latter generating a global revenue over 28 billion U.S. dollars in 2014. Some of these companies are joining up with fashion designers to produce new clothing styles and widen their product lines. As a result, consumption will continue to be driven by a trend toward less formal dress in the workplace and demand from specific demographics such as teenagers and baby boomers.
Sports and fitness clothing is highly fragmented, with many brands competing, from basic discount brands to high-end fashion names. Even well-established brands have to work hard to maintain their share of the market. Consumers are demanding more versatile wear with wider functionality, which means retailers continue producing new styles of sports apparel for men and women.