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Nike's future as a DTC company is in full swing

3 months ago by Jon Marino in Consumer, Earnings
Nike CEO Mark Parker

Nike ($NYSE:NKE) shares are ripping higher Wednesday September 25 after a top- and bottom-line beat that has investors and analysts alike psyched about the company's digital transition. 

A closer look at the data highlights a sprint to the direct-to-consumer space, where a lot of retailers are headed, including companies and apps that sell footwear. 

Just because Nike is eager to get you into more swooshes, don't expect a break at the register. Our first chart tracks percentage discount over time offered directly by the sneaker and apparel maker. It's notable first, because Nike has been reducing discounts consistently throughout the year, but it's not just near a 2019 low right now - it is also at a three-year low. Nike is offering smaller and smaller discounts to consumers, which might be a signal that it is regaining market share. 

This is one example to highlight exactly how much of a DTC company Nike is truly becoming. It has nearly 1 million Apple Store ratings for its Nike Run Club App, which ties in to other products like the Apple Watch, as well as the Apple ($NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store. The ratings track how often a user is willing to actually grade the product - and they have grown steadily. It's safe to say thatnot every user is necessarily an app rater, so Nike's ability to create a direct-to-consumer platform via its Run Club app is another sign that its DTC play is here to stay. 

Nike has (separately) developed an augmented reality-based shoe-sizing app to let people use their phone, where they used to use a trip to Foot Locker, in case you had any doubts about its DTC ambitions. 

Don't just take our word for it - an Oppenheimer research report from September 20 put a bullish price target on Nike shares, citing "prospects for continued outsized sales expansion" and "an increasingly robust digital infrastructure," calling the stock a top pick. 

But - even in spite of all its digital development - Nike continues to staff up. Its retail roles - both full time and part time - rose over the course of the third quarter, 13% and 35.5%, respectively. If the company's digital strategy keeps paying dividends, it is poised to extend its meteoric run in 2019. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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