Nike is a major publicly traded sportswear and equipment supplier based in the United States. It is the world's leading supplier of athletic shoes and apparel, and a major manufacturer of sports equipment. (Partlow, 2003) The company of Nike is especially famous for the higher quality of athletic shoes. In today’s sports market, Nike occupies a comparatively large share in the whole world, with revenues in excess of about $19 billion USD in year 2008 and at the end of fiscal year 2009, it employed 34,300 people, working on 6 different continents. All these figures show that Nike is among the one of the world’s leading sports equipment manufacturers (Peters, 2009). Like any other business organization surviving and developing in the more and more intensified competitive marketplace, Nike has to contend against its business rivals so as to gain the full support of its devoted customers. In order to achieve this purpose, the company has to beware the importance of knowing the needs of the customers, which, according to the principles of market management at the contemporary time, are much impacted by the marketing strategies of the company as well as the various changes of the social and cultural life of the time. So, for Nike, how to cater for the customers and how to enhance its sustained influence in the marketplace can be regarded as the most urgent thing for its sustainable development in the international market (Sun Thyda, 2000).
2. Sportswear market analysis
2.1 Market definition
The sportswear market, which includes both athletic footwear and apparel, can be defined as a highly competitive market even though the market is dominated by number of strong brands such as Nike, Adidas and Reebok. In terms of market share, in 2007 Nike is the clear market leader, with 31% of the global athletic footwear market and Adidas 16%, Reebok 6% respectively. (See figure 1) By contrast, the market for athletic apparel is both larger and more diffuse; Nike is, however, also the global leader in apparel, with a 7% market share. (See figure 2) 2.2 Sportswear segmentation
The customers of sportswear are segmented by the different types of customer needs, which are determined by the utility that comes along with the products supplied by the producer as well as the outer cultural environment, such as the fashion of wearing and sports in different times (Bridson and Evans, 2004). For sportswear products, the customers can be roughly divided into two large segmentations, the professional and the amateurs. An athlete is a typical professional that needs higher quality wearing and is usually allured by the special professional designing of the products. However, different from the professional, an amateur may not be too much attracted by the specialized designing and quality of a product but he or she will be highly influenced by the hot fashion of the day. Also, segmentation of sportswear is as well determined by the different economic, social, cultural and gender groups of the customers in a local place. As a result, for any business organization to be successful in gaining the support from the customers, to know the factors influencing the segmentation of the marketplace is vital. It is no exception with Nike. (Nike manufactures most of their sports goods and accessories for three different groups of people: men, women and children. Each segment is carefully examined in terms of physical capabilities, sociological needs, and design preference.) 2.3 Market trends
The market trends of the world sports equipment and wearing can be summarized in two major aspects. In the first place, with the promotion of new health (which is often characterized by healthy life style and environmental protection), there has been a hot fashion in the international sports industries that highlights the function of products (Galbi, 2001). For example, most influential sports equipment producers, such as Nike and Adidas, are paying the...