What boycott? Nike sales are up 31 percent

President Donald Trump has made his name from sales of everything from suits to steak, but this is his first time selling sneakers — even though that probably wasn't his intention.

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.

"Controversial endorsements tend to generate a lot of hype," said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for retail at The NPD Group, a market research firm. "These kinds of statements and brand partnerships make for a big impact on brand selling."

According to data from Edison Trends, online sales of Nike products jumped 31 percent between the Sunday before and the Tuesday after Labor Day, nearly double last year's 17 percent increase over the same time period. Kaepernick is part of Nike's 30th anniversary of its "Just Do It" tagline. A TV ad narrated by Kaepernick debuted Thursday on the opening night of the regular NFL season.

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People react to Nike's Colin Kaepernick ad campaign
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People react to Nike's Colin Kaepernick ad campaign
.@Nike Due to your support of C.K. in your coming adds, I as an American can no longer support your company.… https://t.co/vKkFpsg87P
First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me… https://t.co/ZUqEd7ldUd
Our Soundman just cut the Nike swoosh off his socks. Former marine. Get ready @Nike multiply that by the millions. https://t.co/h8kj6RXe7j
The Twitter user ArtenenAeolus shared a video, since deleted, of a man burning some Nike products. (ArtenenAeolus/Twitter)
When you find out #nike is supporting #ColinKaepernick #BoycottNike 🔥🔥🔥 https://t.co/EQRGcPoaFr
When you find out #nike is supporting #ColinKaepernick #BoycottNike 🔥🔥🔥 https://t.co/EQRGcPoaFr
Nike ran the numbers. They’ll be ok. But please, burn your socks.
Not playing around. #BackTheBlue #BackTheArmedForces #NikeBoycott https://t.co/uoJcRVJZM5
I just gave $10 this weekend to a homeless veteran. Instead of burning your Nike gear like a goddamned idiot, donat… https://t.co/57AUzQbNL2
#NikeBoycott meet this #VeteransForKaepernick Retired Navy Chief. I served so that Kap can have his voice and spea… https://t.co/QspDdYckjZ
Waiting for Goodwill to open this week with all the new Nike gear... #ColinKaepernick #nikeboycott https://t.co/4nqSOrknrj
Hey #Nike . I don't wear politics or anything related to #ColinKaepernick I no longer buy 5 to 6 pairs per year of… https://t.co/IlATG1XUMI
.@Nike Due to your support of C.K. in your coming adds, I as an American can no longer support your company.… https://t.co/vKkFpsg87P
Let me guess we‘re boycotting Nike because by them supporting Colin Kaepernick they are somehow “disrespecting the… https://t.co/VJF0LOJXDG
Ripping my Nike Air Max to own the libs #BoycottNike https://t.co/FYzpNoZiHX
Can't believe Nike would do such a thing. @Nike @Kaepernick7 #fire #JustDoIt #BoycottNike https://t.co/otqcS49AMu
.@Nike how you going to endorse @Kaepernick7 a person that advertises socks with cops portrayed as pigs, a person t… https://t.co/V2AW0OoMvI
@BreitbartNews Burned my #Nike https://t.co/62rQsXomRH
@TheLastRefuge2 @R_Daneel_0livaw Takin out the trash @Nike #nikeboycott https://t.co/Iz532FatEQ
I just wrote “NIKE” on twenty dollar bills and burned them to own the libs.
wow can’t believe colin kaepernick just became the official spokesperson of brake lines
I'm finally cutting out the Nike logos out of my Nike pillow case! https://t.co/cP9Un6PVzH
Breaking: Nike responds to MAGA backlash https://t.co/8NQj0Y9Hkt
them: Gonna burn/throw away my Nike gear because they are unpatriotic Nike: https://t.co/k1kroZ02cG
“This is terrible marketing. Just awful. I’m gonna show everyone how terrible this is. That’ll show Nike.” https://t.co/XNN06YnPMF
Racists: I’m never buying Nike again Nike: https://t.co/YGD23VWVFA
nike brilliantly found a way to get the least stylish people to stop wearing its stuff
oh wow not sure how Nike's going to survive if they lose the 70 year old white man market
When you can’t find a cross https://t.co/efrqlN09fH
Me, looking to see if anybody burns some Jordans rather the Nike’s they got on the clearance rack https://t.co/5ZKHvpqJOP
Going one step further and no longer worshiping Nike as my goddess of victory. Will ONLY recognize Victoria, her Ro… https://t.co/m1SnsmHcws
Wow Nike. Not a good look https://t.co/MZrOXdukxV
I actually need a new pair of workout shoes. The choices are dizzying. The #NikeBoycott helps me narrow the decisi… https://t.co/rqKgx8hAfY
I Always thought the Air Jordan’s craze was silly. But I will be buying 10 pairs of Those "Air Kaepernick’s" when t… https://t.co/xQM13jsWej
Whether you agree with Nike doing the Kaepernick ad or not it’s bold and I like it. Wish more big companies took risk to make a statement.
✊🏾 https://t.co/P5xQr2lwLk
Legendary. https://t.co/mvS6ChlXhH
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"Nike is a company that is focused on younger generations and expanding their market. This ad did that for them," said Hetal Pandya, co-founder of Edison Trends.

But if Trump is no stranger to controversy, neither is Nike. The company's decision to use Kaepernick, who is currently claiming the league colluded against his employment in a lawsuit, isn't the first time the athletic apparel company has used its brand platform to advocate for a cause or push for social change. Previous ad campaigns have taken on AIDS, gender inequality, disabilities, religion, and other cultural flashpoints.

"The brand has a rich history of positioning itself as a progressive company that connects with its customers through conflict constructive conflict," Pandya told NBC News.

Experts say that by continuing to insert himself into the ongoing debate regarding NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, Trump may have inadvertently helped out Nike by criticizing the brand on Twitter.

"Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts," Trump wrote last week, and video clips of people destroying Nike products quickly went viral. But contrary to Trump's assertion, while calls for a boycott across social media dragged down the company's stock immediately after the news broke, share prices have since recovered.

Drafting Kaepernick as a spokesman has more upside than downside risk for Nike, analysts say, because the company knows its customer base well. Market research from YouGov Plan and Track shows that 46 percent of Nike customers have a positive view of Kaepernick, compared to 34 percent of all Americans. YouGov also found a 10 percentage point increase in the number of Nike customers versus the general public who say a company should take a stand on social issues and have a "moral message."

"The company understands societal trends and its customer demographics better than most," Edison Trends' Pandya said. "It's a calculated risk, but one that our data shows has had a positive impact so far in terms of online sales."

"In this case, controversy is a good thing to their target market," NPD's Cohen said. "Consumers who are most likely to shop online, and shop athletic apparel and footwear, are very much in tune with the movement and the willingness for a mega-brand to stand up against the establishment."

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