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Swiss sportswear brand On goes public

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

Sep. 15, 2021

Business

Image: courtesy of On

Swiss performance brand On has officially been listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and to celebrate, 100 runners including the brand’s founder’s made their way alongside the Hudson River this morning over to Wall Street to ring the opening bell. At the beginning of trade, On was reportedly worth 7.3 billion US dollars, after selling shares for 24 US dollars a piece to raise 746 million US dollars.

On, known for its ‘clouds’ shoe technology, has become one of the fastest-growing global sports brands to go public. It has grown net sales at an 85 percent compound annual growth rate in the last 10 years, and its half-year sales in 2021 grew 85 percent, compared with the same period in 2020.

The performance footwear brand, which counts tennis superstar Roger Federer as an investor states it has made a positive operating result a priority, consistently exceeding an operating margin (adjusted EBITDA) of 10 percent since 2018 and growing it to 15 percent in the first half of 2021.

On said in a statement that its initial public offering and listing on the New York Stock Exchange would allow it “to continue its unique journey as an independent sports brand and engage with new consumers around the world with agile access to capital”.

Image: courtesy of On

Swiss performance brand On lists on the New York Stock Exchange

Founded in 2010 by former World Champion Olivier Bernhard and his friends and amateur runners David Allemann and Caspar Coppetti. The sportswear brand has become a major disruptor in the athletic footwear market with its patented CloudTec cushioning and bespoke Speedboard technology that has made running feel lighter and more agile. To date, On has sold more than 17 million products.

Its focus on innovation is at the heart of On’s success, as is its commitment to sustainability, introducing ambitious, science-based reduction targets in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as launching a fully recyclable running shoe available only by subscription, as it looks to drive the circular economy in sportswear. The first product to be released as part of the ‘Cyclon’ subscription service will be a running shoe created from over 50 percent bio-based materials made from castor beans.

Image: courtesy of On

On has also been establishing itself in the lifestyle market, bridging the gap between a highly demanding performance audience and a lifestyle consumer. In 2020, it launched its first fashion-focused sneaker followed up with a tennis-inspired collection co-designed by Federer, as well as its first women’s exclusive shoe, the hybrid outdoor shoe merging adventure-ready durability with street-ready style.

“In a world where sports, life and business mix like never before, it’s no surprise that both audiences appreciate products with performance DNA that can stretch far from the track,” explains On.

Roger Federer-backed sportswear brand On confirms initial public offering

The sportswear brand has also built a global customer base, operating in more than 60 countries, with the brand’s footprint including Europe, the US, Asia, Australia and Latin America. Currently, North America is On’s biggest market with 49 percent of the business, where it opened its debut flagship in New York City last December. Followed by Europe at 44 percent, with China being the brand’s fastest-growing market.

However, On notes that it is in a growth phase in almost of all its international markets, and following a three-week pop-up it held in London in August, it is looking to expand its reach in the UK. For the London Marathon weekend, On is planning various pop-ups across the capital, including an art installation, a cultural programme of events and a retail space in Shoreditch called Point Two. This is in the lead up to a more permanent physical presence in London next year.

As well as standalone retail presences, On also has relationships with retail partners around the world, showcasing their products in around 8,100 doors. However, the brand is driving forward with its multi-channel model, with its direct-to-consumer business accounting for 37 percent of net sales in the first half of 2021.