- Seattle, WA
Brooks Running provided performance running gear and inspiration for millions of runners across the globe throughout 2020, reaching new high watermarks for the business and brand, and proving a focused strategy with execution excellence can drive industry-leading success in a highly competitive field. Brooks ended the year with global revenue of nearly US$850 million, an increase of 27 percent year over year.
In a year gripped by the COVID-19 global pandemic and related economic disruption, individuals globally chose outdoor activities — and more specifically running and walking — as convenient and compliant ways to stay active, get fresh air, and manage stress.
“In 2020, the Brooks team stayed very close to the runner for cues on how to navigate the uncertainty caused by global retail and supply chain disruptions,” said Jim Weber, CEO at Brooks Running. “We quickly found new demand signals to track shifts in running participation and shopping behaviour and acted decisively to engage runners and gain market share in every channel of distribution.”
Brooks’ investment in its consumer research Run-Sight Lab and singular focus on runners was a major advantage and contributed to 2020 success. With these insights, the brand quickly adjusted its communication approach and reinforced its omni-channel distribution support to engage with runners and make sure they could find Brooks whenever and wherever and they chose to research and shop.
The Brooks’ Sales & Operations team created a process that included a new demand model to replace retailer signals with cues coming from digital sell-through and running participation. By the middle of the year, this customer-focused process gave the brand the confidence that demand for Brooks was exceeding previous year sales, prompting a green light to reignite production to meet demand.
Winning in Multi-Channel Retail
While markets were interrupted with inventory disruptions from the impact of COVID-19, Brooks’ market share grew around the globe. In retail, Brooks was the No. 4 adult performance running footwear brand in the U.S. in 2020 with 8.5% dollar share, up 1.8 points year over year.* In the same period, the Brooks Ghost became the No. 1 franchise for adult performance running in the total and run specialty markets combined.**
Brooks gained more than 3 points of performance running dollar-share among runners in 2020 compared to 2019, and for the first time ever became the No. 2 brand among runners based on dollar-share position.* In the final two months of 2020, Brooks was the No. 1 adult performance running footwear brand in the athletic specialty / sporting goods (ASSG) channel,*** generating powerful momentum leading into 2021.
In 2020, during brick-and-mortar retail closures, Brooks sales online shifted north of 75%, stabilizing at 46% by year end. With the runners in control of their shopping journey, Brooks’ multi-channel presence mattered as they moved from physical stores to online shopping.
Run Happy Culture
Brooks believes its ability to deliver on its “Run Happy” promise to customers starts within its own walls; when COVID-19 hit, the health and safety of Brooks employees was the company’s top priority. Over the course of the year, Brooks invested in developing its leaders and managers to lead execution and model the brand’s core values at scale via virtual engagements and platforms. Over the past 12 months, Brooks’ active employee count surpassed 1,000 as the company added nearly 100 employees and retained talent with zero layoffs throughout the year.
*The NPD Group / U.S. Consumer Tracking Service, January-December 2020
** The NPD Group / U.S. Retail Tracking Service, Total Measured Market and Run Specialty Dollar Sales Combined, January-December 2020
*** The NPD Group / U.S. Retail Tracking Service, January-December 2020
About Brooks Running Company
Brooks Running sells its performance footwear, apparel, run bras, and accessories in more than 50 countries worldwide. Brooks’ purpose is to inspire everyone to run their path to a better self by creating the best gear, tools, and experiences. Founded 1914, Brooks is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and is headquartered in Seattle. Visit Brooks Running for more information or follow us on Twitter (@brooksrunning) and Instagram (@brooksrunning).