In line with our mission statement of being the Fastest Sports Brand in the World, PUMA offers an attractive product range of footwear, apparel and accessories within its Performance and Sportstyle categories. In 2016, we set ourselves the goal to further improve our product offering: This includes increasing design clarity by reducing and standardizing colors and material components, and introducing more innovative technologies and more commercial products. The positive response from our retail partners and the increased sell-through of our products in the past year show that these improvements have been well received by our customers. Lightness, strength, comfort, and agility are among the most important attributes of our product concepts in the Performance category, as for example demonstrated in our successful IGNITE series in Running and our Teamsport products. All of our Sportstyle ranges are inspired by our roots in sport, combined with fashionable trends for a sporty lifestyle. Under the leadership of our Global Creative Director, Torsten Hochstetter, we ensure a design language that spans all our collections by organizing our product responsibility within global business units and regional design centers.
In 2016, our product range in Performance was dominated by major sporting events, from the Copa América and the European Championships in Football to the Summer Olympics in Rio. These events provided the perfect stage for us to show that PUMA is an innovative and design-oriented sports brand. At the European Championships in France, we achieved a high level of visibility with our five participating teams in their jerseys equipped with PUMA‘s innovative ACTV Thermo-R technology. In addition to many other individual players in PUMA shoes, France’s Antoine Griezmann in particular attracted attention to our brand: He was named Player of the Tournament by UEFA and the six goals he scored in his duo coloured PUMA Tricks shoes made him the top goal scorer of the Championships.
In addition, PUMA also received a 2016 IPSO AWARD in the Apparel Performance Products Outer Layer category for a Football product: Our evoTRG vent jacket with dynamic temperature control has ergonomically-placed inserts that adapt to movements during football matches: The inserts open during movement to cool the players, and close during periods of rest to keep players warm.
The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where PUMA athletes won a total of ten gold, five silver, and nine bronze medals, were also a perfect opportunity to showcase our products and establish our credibility as a sports brand. As supplier of all the competition and training apparel of the Caribbean nations Jamaica, Cuba, Grenada, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and Barbados, as well as other associations like Switzerland, we once again showed – led by the Fastest Man in the World, Usain Bolt, and with the three gold medals he won in Rio in the 100, 200 and 4×100 meter races – that no other brand stands for speed the way we do.
Other highlights of our product range in Running and Training included our successful IGNITE series with the IGNITE Dual for the fall/winter season. Its innovative sole construction and the proven IGNITE foam offer an ideal combination of flexible grip and good cushioning, especially for medium and long-distance runners. Our apparel, with its strong colors and simplified designs, gives our customers a dynamic look when engaging in sports.
Our Motorsport category saw the introduction of our latest model in the DISC family with the metallic-silver shoe BMW X-CAT DISC. This striking shoe is another example of our reintroduced DISC technology, which uses an intelligent fastening system developed in 1991 to provide an optimal and comfortable grip. Formula 1 is dominated by PUMA-sponsored teams such as MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS, Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull Racing, which hold top places in the Drivers‘ and Constructors‘ Championships in what has been an enormously successful season thus far.
We were particularly pleased with the sustained success of our product concepts for women. In keeping with our mission statement „The future is female“, we have systematically expanded our women‘s collection over the past two years. We achieved major success in this segment again in 2016, especially in Sportstyle. The overwhelming response to our „FENTY PUMA by Rihanna“ fashion show at New York Fashion Week in February, for example, gave a boost to the launch of other FENTY collections. The FENTY Trainer and the CREEPER model, which was released in new colors, sold out within a few days, and the Fur Slide sandal sold out after just a few hours or minutes. As part of our partnership with Kylie Jenner, who has a great influence on young women in the USA and is a new brand ambassador of PUMA, we launched another revolutionary silhouette – the FIERCE training shoe.
After launching our first, long-awaited „FENTY PUMA by Rihanna“ collection in September for the fall/winter season, Rihanna presented her 2017 spring/summer collection at Paris Fashion Week only a short time later. This second collection is inspired by the France of the 18th century and combines influences from the time of Louis XVI with a modern street-style look. We also further strengthened our Women‘s segment with the launch of our „DO YOU“ campaign, which aims to inspire self-confidence in women around the world. The campaign is spearheaded by Cara Delevingne, an international model, actress and activist who complements PUMA‘s growing number of influential brand ambassadors. „DO YOU“ involves a cross-collection range of products from Running and Training and our Sportstyle collection.
PUMA is continuously researching new technologies and constantly developing new products that meet the high standards of high-performance athletes and consumers in terms of design, quality, technical characteristics and wearing comfort.
Research and product development at PUMA mainly comprises the areas of innovation (new technologies), product design, and model and collection development. The research and product development activities range from the analysis of scientific studies and customer surveys, through the generation of creative ideas, to the implementation of innovations in commercial products. The activities in research and product development are directly linked to sourcing activities.
As of December 31, 2016, a total of 525 employees were employed in research and product development. Expenses for research and product development totaled € 52.0 million in 2016.