UA

Under Armour: The data champions?

Its been well publicised that the world’s most valuable resource is no long oil but data, so in the first of this 3-part series, LoopMe will be taking an in-depth look at companies who are ‘championing data’. To obtain a spot in this all-star list these companies must be gathering and using data in an innovative way to help achieve their business objectives.

The first company we’ll be looking at is Under Armour (UA). Set up in the late 90’s by former college football player Kevin Plank. Under Armour has transformed itself from a traditional sportswear brand that first began selling compression shirts, to a global organisation that is using large sets of data to achieve their mission: Make all athletes better through passion, design and the relentless pursuit of innovation.

It’s this culture of innovation which is at the heart of Under Armour and led by Plank and his team that has seen a shift in their positioning from a sportswear brand to a tech juggernaut. They now compete with the likes of Nike and Adidas but also with Apple and Samsung. This shift was marked more clearly with Plank delivering the keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2016.

Under Armour are betting big on technology, and thus have coined the phrase ‘Connected Fitness’ which is a movement under the Internet of Things umbrella. Plank says that connected fitness looks to solve one simple question; “Why is it that we know more about our own cars, than our own bodies?” He plans to solve this through the combination of apps, gadgets and clothing to improve your health and fitness. This 60 second advert, titled ‘Future Girl’ embodies their connected fitness vision. Maybe it’s a bit farfetched for the immediate future, but we’re closer than you may initially think.

Acquisitions

Eyebrows were raised when Under Armour started their $710 million shopping spree of fitness apps. The first to be bought was MyFitnessPal which was acquired for $475 million dollars in November 2015. The Baltimore based start-up founded by brothers Mike and Albert Lee in 2005, offers a mobile app and website for people to track, learn, communicate and improve their health and wellness.

With a community of over 80 million, UA’s acquisition has proven to be very shrewd, as now UA and MyFitnessPal has the world’s largest digital health and fitness community with over 120 million members.

Shortly after UA snapped up MyFitnessPal, they acquired Endomondo and their 20 million database for $85 million. The Norwegian company is a social fitness and mobile application, which gives users the ability to track their workouts, challenge their friends and analyse their overall training performance.

November 14th 2013 was a landmark day for Under Armour, as it marked the completion of their acquisitions as they bought MapMyFitness (not to be confused with MyFitnessPal!) for $150 million. MapMyFitness operates a suite of social wellness-orientated websites and associated mobile and tablet applications including MapMyRun and MapMyHike with over 80 million users.

What does all this mean?

With a community of over 200 million active users who log their fitness activity across different apps, UA now has a wealth of first-party data in which to improve and innovate the services that they offer. MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness, Endomondo and their own fitness application UA Record, accompanied with their wearables are all used to improve the day to day lives of their customer base culminating in Under Armour’s health box.

Under Armour partnered with HTC to develop the HealthBox, which is priced at around $400. The HealthBox analyses the data points from all an individual’s UA devices and applications taking into consideration everything from their calorie intake to sleep duration. It then uses this data to suggest a personalised workout plan and suggests where they can improve.

Kevin Plank had this to say at "CES 2016" ‘If we could contain this amount of data, putting it into one place, and be able to truly empower the consumer, giving them information which will allow them to enrich and enable their lives it will be powerful'. His vision for Under Armour makes them a force to be reckoned with in both the tech and sports industry.