Which sneaker brand wins the e-commerce foot race?

May 17, 2016 02:14 PM

We all know that the leading sneaker brands fight tooth and nail for star athlete endorsements from the likes of Stephen Curry, Tom Brady, and Serena Williams. But how do the sneaker brands fare when lined up head to head in the world of e-commerce? To answer this question, I used our RightBid Feedback Collector software to emulate the results that a customer would see if he searched for sneakers on both Amazon and All in all, I collected data on 4,588 products across 125 pages from Amazon and 17,524 products across 176 pages from I then ranked each brand by the number of listings on each site and compiled a list of the fourteen brands that were among the top ten most visible sneaker brands on either of the two sites. I then proceeded to compile statistics showing each brand’s visibility, average price, average rating count, and average review score. The results are shown in the table below:

The chart is sorted by combined rank (i.e. New Balance ranks 2nd on Zappos and 6th on Amazon so its combined rank is 8th). Brands at the top of the chart have the most listings across the two sites. (Reebok has an asterisk as it qualified from its Amazon showing, despite not having any listings on Zappos. As a result, some of the metrics like average price are likely skewed). While it’s not surprising that Nike takes the top spot and New Balance was also among the most listed on both sites, several shoe brands that aren’t synonymous with sneakers such as Merrell and Lacoste fared very well. Adidas was less visible than expected as were Converse and Reebok. Puma, which has largely stayed out of the sports endorsement game, surprised with more listings than giants like Reebok and Adidas. Brooks, which focuses almost solely (ahem) on athletic shoes, disappointed with the 34th most frequent brand on Zappos and the 42nd most frequent brand on Amazon.

We looked at two other metrics offering insights into visibility – FPOSITION_INDEX and AVG_POSITION. A low value of FPOSITION_INDEX indicates that the first appearance of the brand shows up close to the top of the search results. A value of AVG_POSITION under 100 indicates that the results for that brand are more concentrated in the first half of page results. We noticed that Skechers does particularly well on visibility measures. Surprisingly, Nike had a very high AVG_POSITION value indicating that more of its products were buried in the back end of the search results.

We looked at how the brands compared on several metrics beyond visibility such as price, review counts, and average rating. There was a big gap in the average price point with brands like Under Armour and ASICS selling for roughly twice the level of Converse and Keds. However, these differences seem to wash out when looking at the average customer ratings indicating that customers see these pricier brands as being in line with their value. There was also a great deal of variation in the number of reviews per product across the different brands. The more sneaker-oriented brands like New Balance, Skechers, ASICS, and Converse had many times more reviews per product on Amazon than did less sneaker-oriented brands like Under Armour and Lacoste. While there are substantial differences between these fourteen sneaker brands, no one brand runs away with the gold across all categories.

RightBid is a software company that produces custom technology-enabled research for consulting, private equity, and technology firms.




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