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Checking in With Nike and Lululemon

by 
Lila Margalit
 on 
December 4, 2023
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon

With the all-important fourth quarter of the year well underway, we dove into the data to see how lululemon athletica and Nike fared in Q3 2023 – and how the two athleisure leaders have experienced the kickoff of the holiday season.

Nike’s and Lululemon’s Very Merry Outlook

In the third quarter of 2023, Nike experienced dramatic visit growth, with foot traffic to the chain up 59.0% compared to the equivalent period of 2022. Lululemon also made a strong quarterly showing, with year-over-year (YoY) quarterly visits up 20.2%. On a monthly basis, both activewear brands maintained consistently positive YoY visit growth for the months of July, August, and September 2023 – despite lapping a Q3 2022 that was itself extremely robust.

Nike’s and lululemon’s positive momentum continued through October and into November – showing just how well positioned the two brands are heading into the holiday season.

Lululemon’s and Nike’s striking ability to keep up such strong visit growth in the face of waning consumer confidence is a testament to the two brands’ broad and ever-widening appeal – including among the much-coveted Gen Z demographic. Lululemon’s dual emphasis on quality and sustainability resonates powerfully with younger consumers. And though classically favored by women, the brand has also seen a steady increase of the share of men among its customer base. Nike, too, is particularly beloved by younger consumers: Survey data shows that teens prefer Nike to any other apparel or footwear brand. But like lululemon, the footwear king has diversified its audience in recent years, making inroads among less-affluent and less sports-obsessed consumers. Both chains have also worked to expand their brick-and-mortar footprints, growing their store counts while leaning into experiential retail.

A Stellar Black Friday Showing – and Boxing Day?

For both Nike and lululemon, Black Friday is one of the most important sales days of the year – and both brands knocked it out of the park this year. Nike drew 324.9% more visits on Black Friday 2023 (Nov. 24th) than it did, on average, during the six-week period leading up to the retail holiday – the chain’s biggest visit spike since at least 2019. Lululemon, for its part, saw a visit bump of  467.7% on Nov. 24th, 2023, bringing the brand ever closer to its pre-pandemic Black Friday frenzy levels.

But zooming out on Nike’s and lululemon’s broader holiday visitation patterns shows that the two chains may be in for even bigger visit bumps on December 26th – known in some parts of the world as “Boxing Day” – than the ones they experienced on Black Friday. 

In 2019 and 2021, Black Friday was Nike’s and lululemon’s busiest day of the year – but in 2022, it was outpaced by December 26th. This shift is striking, and may provide further evidence of the emergence of Boxing Day as an important U.S. retail milestone. Given how tricky it can be to buy clothes and shoes for other people, December 26th may be particularly important for higher-end athleisure brands like lululemon and Nike. Consumers may flock to these chains on the day after Christmas to exchange their presents for something in the right color or size, or to use holiday gift cards or cash to splurge on something that would normally be out of reach.

Key Takeaways

Consumers are all about self-care and wellness these days – and athleisure brands have been riding the wave. Will Nike and lululemon see more foot traffic this year on Boxing Day than they did on Black Friday? And what lies in store for them as 2023 draws to a close?

Follow Placer.ai’s data-driven retail analyses to find out. 

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