Sportswear brand Nike acquires Zodiac data analytics company

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Nike, probably the world’s largest sportswear company with around $35 billion revenue a year, has acquired a data analytics company called Zodiac. 

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Nike says the acquisition is part of its plan to accelerate its “Customer Direct Offense” strategy, aimed at “serving customers faster and more personally at scale”.

Adam Sussman, vice president and chief digital officer of Nike, says: “The acquisition of Zodiac demonstrates our commitment to further accelerating Nike’s digital transformation and enhancing our consumer data and analytics capabilities to help us serve consumers globally... We’re adding world-class data-science talent and best-in-class tools to power 1:1 relationships with consumers through digital and physical consumer experiences.”

Artem Mariychin, Zodiac CEO, says: “Nike’s incredible connection with consumers and its global scale make it a perfect home for Zodiac’s team and capabilities... We are excited to become part of Nike to help power the Consumer Direct Offense across the world.”

Nike is famous for its training shoes, but also sells a lot of other clothing items like tracksuits and so on. According to some estimates its income equates to the sale of 25 pairs of shoes every second worldwide, or $1,000 a second, or more than $9 billion a quarter. Like most retailers, Nike is looking to increase its ability to almost tailor-make products for individual clients, as well as provide a personalised shopping experience.

Their European rival, Adidas, has been testing a new system for manufacturing its shoes using robotics and 3D printing technologies in new ways. Adidas, which has annual revenues of approximately $20 billion, recently opened stores where customers can have their feet scanned and their shoes 3D printed exactly to their requirements. This is sometimes called “mass customisation”. But whatever it’s called, and whether it’s in-store or online, the key area of competition between big companies – even if they are manufacturers – is data. The more data they have about their customers and the wider market, right down to each and every person’s foot size and shape, the more likely it is they will increase their revenues.

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