Nike Hikes Dominance Among Teens; Under Armour Slips

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Nike (NKE) is one tough competitor. The swoosh-logo brand not only maintained its top position in athletic apparel among fickle teen shoppers, it increased its share.

“For the third consecutive survey, Nike ranks as the No. 1 apparel and footwear brand among upper and average-income teens,” Piper Jaffray said in its fall 2013 Taking Stock with Teens survey.

Both genders ranked Nike as their preferred athletic clothing brand by a wide margin. Seventy percent of upper-income teens surveyed and 68% of average-income teens named Nike their top choice, far outpacing their No. 2 pick, Under Armour (UA) (9% and 11%, respectively).

“(Under Armour’s) athletic apparel mindshare remains well behind Nike, spreads (are at the) highest point in survey history,” Piper Jaffray noted.

That was a 2-percentage-point gain in upper income and a 4-point gain in average income from the spring 2013 survey for Nike, while Under Armour lost 2 points and 3 points. Adidas was third in the latest survey, with 5% share among both income brackets and Lululemon Athletica (LULU) was fourth, at 3% (upper) and 1% (average).

Female respondents rated Nike No. 1, with a flat 67% share among upper-income shoppers and a 3-point gain to 66% in the average-income segment.

Under Armour lost 3 points in both brackets to 9% (upper) and 12% (average), good enough for second place, but with Lululemon narrowing the gap with a 1-point gain to 8% among higher-income teens. The pricey yoga apparel maker climbed 1 point to 2%, coming in fourth among average-income teens, behind Adidas (5%).

Lululemon’s 8% share among upper-income female teens is the highest in survey history and could pass Under Armour in spring 2014, according to Piper Jaffray.

Nike also held its analyst day Wednesday, reaffirming its fiscal 2017 revenue target of $36 billion. It expects big gains in apparel and women’s products. It sees $30 billion by fiscal 2015, at the high end of its prior guidance.

Nike shares rose 1.2% to 71.15 in afternoon trading in the stock market today. They’ve rallied 38% this year and are 5% off their Sept. 27 all-time high. Under Armour rose 1.4% to 77.45 and Lululemon 0.9% to 74.30.

Under Armour has come on strong this year with a 59% gain, while Lulu has slipped 3% in a turbulent year in which obstacles have included supersheer pants, supply-chain issues and the upcoming exit of CEO Christine Day.

Another apparel maker with teen steam is fashion house Michael Kors (KORS), which showed a “staggering” jump in mindshare with teens in the Taking Stock survey. Kors shares rose 2.8% to 72.88.

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