Many news orgs are writing about Nike's online sales jump of 31%, like this one from NBC or this one from Market Watch.

Nike sales jumped by 31 percent after debuting quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick as a new company spokesman — and market observers say the president’s public displays of anger may have backfired by drawing more attention to Nike.

This sales jump is from sales data from Sunday, September 2, 2018 through Tuesday, September 4, and is comparing year over year sales.

That being said, Nike didn't announce the partnership until Labor Day (the 3rd) and didn't air the commercial until Thursday the 6th.

The clear intent of the article is that the partnership between Kaepernick and Nike and the message of the ad directly contributed to Nike's 31% year-over-year increase in sales.

However, the claim that the online sales jumped 31% due solely to the ad is, to me, suspect as the dates involved include non-campaign days and the Labor Day event included other promotions by both Nike and its distributors.

It is true to state that Nike's sales jumped by 31%, however, it seems false to attribute that jump solely to the partnership, if not least because of the inclusion of non-campaign days in the data.

So, what was the real sales jump due to the partnership and ad with Kaepernick?

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    This was designed to spread fast. People where already burning Nike products on the 3rd so it shouldn't be surprising that people where also buying at the same time. pjmedia.com/trending/…
    – Joe W
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 20:19
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    @JoeW Not everyone is on social media (though the target market for this campaign most assuredly are). Nike also ran Labor Day sales, as did most, if not all, of their distributors. So, the sales spike being 100% attributed to this campaign is suspect. What I'm asking for is sales data for the time period following the announcement and campaign. It may not be of interest to you, but it is to me. Hence, the question.
    – ForReal
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 20:38
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    Hi, all questions on skeptics need to be about a notable claim. Can you please focus your question so it does not ask for speculation ("can a 31% jump be attributed to...")?
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 21:19
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    @Oddthinking I attempted an edit to clarify things. If I made the question off topic (again) please let me know and I'll revert it. Thanks!
    – ForReal
    Commented Sep 12, 2018 at 15:17
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    Since both articles compare the 31% post-Labor Day increase to last year's 17% increase, it might be more fair to say the articles are claiming the ad announcement contributed to the ~14% jump in sales, rather than the full 31% .
    – Giter
    Commented Sep 12, 2018 at 15:46

2 Answers 2


The 31% stat appears to come from Edison Trends, which has this chart (an interactive version can be found here):

"1x" means "1x the number of Nike product orders sold on August 1, 2017." Data collected from receipts from over 200 online vendors, using "Nike" as a search term.

Checking the math, it was .83x on Sunday and 1.08x on Tuesday and .83 × .31 + .83 ≈ 1.08

As the chart says, it's an increase in online sales. Because last year's graph also shows an increase (17% between Sunday and Tuesday), it is doubtful that this increase is entirely due to the advertisement.

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    Good answer. It might be useful to mention that the articles referenced by the question say exactly this. They state the statistic is online sales, and reference the previous year's 17% increase over the same period. I.e. what they claim is accurate.
    – De Novo
    Commented Sep 16, 2018 at 23:07

Nike's online sales have returned to the same level as before it revealed its controversial ad campaign with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

The campaign had sparked an initial jump in sales, with online sales climbing 27 percent between Sunday and Wednesday of Labor Day weekend, according to Edison Trends, a digital-commerce researcher.

  • CNBC article, Published 8:35 AM ET Thu, 13 Sept 2018 Updated 11:05 AM ET Thu, 13 Sept 2018.
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    I am specifically interested in the immediate term sales boost that the campaign had. I'll look at long term trends by studying their 10-K. I appreciate your response, but it doesn't really answer the question.
    – ForReal
    Commented Sep 15, 2018 at 21:16
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    You need to indicate when you're copying words from another source by formatting it as a blockquote.
    – Laurel
    Commented Sep 15, 2018 at 22:27

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