The Adidas and JD Sports fall 2017 EQT campaign featuring Stormzy and Hailey Baldwin

Adidas, Nike and Under Armour may as well be inducted into the influencer hall of fame at this point. The big three have swung from strength to strength, releasing innovative products to launching deeply robust influencer programs that have gained the attention of Millennials, Gen Zers, and older brand loyalists. No small feat given the rocky retail landscape as of late.

Tribe Dynamics, an influencer marketing, digital strategy and competitive reporting agency, reviewed the top players in the space given its catapulting success in a range of products. Its recent report, “Activewear: An Investigation” said retailers increased activewear selections by 22 percent last year, which resulted in a 27 percent rise in full-price sellouts. According to Euromonitor, the performance category was valued at approximately $78 billion in 2016, cementing itself as the global leader of the overarching fashion and accessory industry.

The research examined the current segment as established companies have crossed into more traditional fashion and niche brands are specializing in ath-leisure. Tribe Dynamics assigned its metric, earned media value to discern the relevance — and ROI — of social media engagement and the benefit of influencer marketing strategies between January and June 2017.

Adidas led the bunch with $422 million EMV. This likely is attributed to the fact that the brand partnered with the most ambassadors — 9,876 — and boasted the highest frequency of posts as well.

“Adidas was endorsed by a wide range of international celebrities including Brazilian singer Anitta and Filipino-Australian actress Anne Curtis, who continually touted products such as the Pure Boost X Trainer Zip Shoes,” the report said. “The brand further reinforced its status as a global trendsetter by cornering the market on partnerships with some of the biggest and brightest names in soccer.” The brand took over the apparel manufacturing for soccer teams, Manchester United F.C. and Real Madrid C.F., bolstering its prominence.

Tribe estimated the EMV of its #HereToCreate and #NeverFollow campaigns at $16.2 million EMV and $12.4 million EMV, respectively. Its ongoing Yeezy line continues to reign within the sneakerhead community, too.

Nike landed in the second highest ranking, garnering more than $357 million EMV — a 105 percent year-on-year increase. In June, the brand partnered with Bella Hadid to usher in the Beautiful x Powerful collection in celebration of Jamaican sprinter, Elaine Thompson. The partnership included various social mentions via Hadid, a meet-and-greet at its location at The Grove mall in Los Angeles and a release of an updated Cortez Classic shoe.

Though Under Armour trailed behind Adidas and Nike, the younger company secured the third spot of rankings. “While Under Armour still lagged behind Nike with $26.4 million EMV, the activewear brand saw an 80 percent year-over-year growth thanks to a number of high-profile spokespeople. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson cooked up $3.4 million EMV across 22 posts as the brand’s top ambassador, tirelessly promoting his “Project Rock” collection of T-shirts, tank tops and capris,” the report said.

Despite its position in fourth rankings, Lululemon was the only brand to post a decline in EMV. This is likely due to the rise of Outdoor Voices and Sweaty Betty that are encroaching on the ath-leisure lifestyle vertical.

Sweaty Betty was particularly successful with its in-store fitness classes and its annual wellness festival, Sweaty Betty Live, the report said. The brand also launched limited-edition lines with influencers and hosted a yoga session on a yacht to strength its influencer community. “The celebration served as an opportunity for influencers to further develop and deepen their relationships with each other, lending even greater authenticity to their strong endorsements of the brand,” the report said.

Tribe Dynamics Activewear Brand Data – First Half 2017

  1. Adidas: $422 million EMV; 103 percent increase year-on-year
  2. Nike: $357.1 million EMV; 105 percent increase year-on-year
  3. Under Armour: $26.4 million EMV; 80 percent increase year-on-year
  4. Lululemon: $15.1 million EMV; 8 percent increase year-on-year
  5. Asics: $9.3 million EMV; N/A
  6. Sweaty Betty: $3.6 million EMV; 9 percent increase year-on-year
  7. Outdoor Voices: $3.3 million EMV; 83 percent increase year-on-year

More from WWD:

British Brands Bank on Heritage for Future Growth

Global Consumers are More Confident – But are They Spending?

Non-Luxury Brands Finally Crack Social Influencer Code

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