When non-fungible tokens (aka NFTs) — essentially certificates for digital or physical assets — were first released, the big brands remained intact. They didn’t launch their own, entertain the trend of the times (now an industry in their own right), or rush to modernize previous versions with crypto advantages. People knew there would one day be a Nike NFT, but when Nike first showed hesitation, many wondered if the brand, and others of a similar size, would eventually go all-in.
Then Nike launched a series of acquisitions – NFT tech companies, other NFT makers, and so on. And while real-life apparel and footwear is still the giant’s primary focus, NFTs are paying off, it seems, even if most shoppers (myself included) remain skeptical.
Nike has earned $185.33 million on NFTs so far, beating Gucci, Tiffany, Dolce & Gabbana and Adidas to the top spot on a new list by Noah Levin ranking the highest earners in the space. Dolce & Gabbana ($25.65 million) took second place; Tiffany ($12.62 million) finished third; and Gucci ($11.56 million) and Adidas ($10.95 million) took fourth and fifth place, respectively.
But these brands don’t make NFTs for the money…although they get a lot out of them.
Keep in mind that $185.33 million is only 0.3% of Nike’s total annual revenue. As such, the money that Nike, for example, makes isn’t the primary incentive to continue making or at least promoting NFTs (which are often digital sneakers or apparel), Samuel van Deth, director of marketing strategy at Oracle for the Europe, Middle East and Asia markets, said. “I would argue that’s not the most important metric… the impact on overall brand awareness, engagement, loyalty, and customer lifetime revenue are probably the biggest reasons why brands invest here.”
Not only are Nike, Tiffany, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana now technically early adopters, especially if the NFT/crypto market begins to grow again like in 2021, but they are seeing incredible gains on NFT as a marketing tool. Nike recorded nearly 68,000 secondary transactions from its NFTs, which totaled over $1.2 billion in secondary volume. Here it means someone was searched with the intention of buying a Nike NFT but ended up with Nike socks or a Nike t-shirt instead. For the scale, Adidas, which ranked second behind Nike, secondary volume didn’t even reach what Nike did from NFTs.
So far, it looks like Nike will remain one of the greatest brands of all time, even as we transition from real life to the digital world. Whether he can protect his intellectual property remains to be seen.