In 2020, we significantly improved our product offering across all our business units. As a company with more than 70 years of history of moving sports and culture forward, our designers have access to a vast archive and often take inspiration for tomorrow’s styles from yesterday’s classics.
The RIDER, originally a running shoe from the 1980s, was one of our most important footwear styles in 2020 and it was introduced in several new versions and colors throughout the year.
In our Sportstyle business unit, we continued to see strong sell-through of our main footwear franchises RS and CALI. The appetite from our consumers for these franchises was maintained, as we launched several new models in 2020, such as the RS Fast.
The RS even found its way into our lineup of golf products, where it sold well as the RS-G golf shoe.
Together with Grammy-winning artist J.Cole, PUMA also designed a basketball shoe that uses RS foam, the RS-DREAMER. It was worn on the basketball court by our PUMA Hoops athletes and sold out quickly.
Classic silhouettes, including the iconic PUMA SUEDE or the SPEEDCAT, also continued to perform well throughout the year. We brought together some of the most iconic shoes from our history, such as the RALPH SAMPSON, the ROMA and the RIDER to create the Rudolf Dassler Legacy Collection.
In performance footwear, we continued to develop the revolutionary PUMA ULTRA football boot, which was relaunched in August as the ULTRA 1.1. This boot featured PUMA exclusive MATRYXEVO® technology, which provides a very high level of stability, durability and traction.
In Motorsport, PUMA made the dreams of motorsport fans come true, as we sold the professional racing boot SPEEDCAT PRO, which Formula One drivers such as Sir Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen or Charles Leclerc wear on race day, to a wider audience for the first time.
In Running & Training, shoes based on our proprietary HYBRID technology sold well. As part of a sponsored research collaboration with MIT Design Lab, PUMA also developed a new cushioning technology called XETIC. It combines the properties of mechanical cushioning and foam. XETIC was first introduced in the CALIBRATE RUNNER and will continue to be used in footwear styles across different business units.
Our COBRA Golf and PUMA Golf business also showed a strong performance in 2020, driven by high sales of our innovative golf clubs, such as the SPEEDZONE Driver. This product was used by Bryson DeChambeau to win the U.S. Open, which boosted demand. PUMA Golf also launched the Excellent Golf Wear Collection, which was designed to perform on the course but remained routed in lifestyle.
In apparel and accessories, we saw a good development across the portfolio, especially in Motorsport, Core and Prime apparel, where we presented several special collections.
Alongside PUMA ambassador and LGBTQ+ activist Cara Delevingne, we launched the “From PUMA with Love” pack to celebrate Pride Month. The Unity Collection highlighted PUMA’s sports heritage, and featured simple black and white designs with pops of color, drawn from international flags. In a collaboration with New York design studio KidSuper, PUMA combined elements of football culture with retro tailoring, bold prints, vivid color combinations.
In Motorsport, PUMA released two legacy collections with Porsche, which were inspired by the history of the German car brand and the legendary Porsche 911 Turbo.
We also continued to offer products for professional gamers and launched a new collection with esports brand Cloud9, which for the first time also included matching footwear.
We also presented new collections with a focus on sustainability. Our sportswear collection with First Mile is made with recycled yarn that is manufactured from plastic bottles collected in the First Mile network. Our collaboration with London-based design school Central Saint Martins implemented cutting edge dyeing technologies such as “Dope Dye” and digital printing, to reduce the use of chemicals and water.
Still at an experimental stage, our innovation department presented the “Design to Fade” biodesign project, which explored sustainable alternatives for dyeing and making textiles.
Research and product development at PUMA mainly comprise 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, 2020, a total of 1,049 people were employed in research and development/ product management (previous year: 999). In 2020, research and development/ product management expenses totaled €102.6 million (previous year: €114.3 million), of which €56.6 million (previous year: €61.7 million) related to research and development.