Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Company profile: Under Armour (UA)

Under Armour is an American sports clothing and accessories company.
  • Founded in 1996 by former University of Maryland football player Kevin Plank. (competitors: Adidas, ca. 1949; Nike, ca. 1969)
  • Sector: Consumer Goods
  • Industry: Textile - Apparel Clothing
  • HQ: Baltimore, Maryland
  • 14,000 employees; 6,000 in Baltimore
  • In 2015, Under Armour overtook Adidas to become the second-biggest sportswear brand in the U.S. 
  • In 2016, the company signed the largest sponsorship deal in the history of college sports, paying $280 million for a 15-year contract with UCLA. 
  • The company has invested more than $700 million in fitness apps and activity-tracking technology, and it hired the designer Tim Coppens, a ready-to-wear rising star, to help snag a portion of the lucrative “athleisure” market.
Update 11/10/18:  Under Armour was once the hottest name in the whole athletic apparel industry. Thanks to a burgeoning basketball business and strong athlete endorsements, Under Armour was the envy of the whole industry back in 2014-15. But, that growth proved to be unsustainable. The North America business maxed out at a really early stage, and growth went negative. Meanwhile, growth in the International business cooled dramatically, and threatened to follow in North America’s footsteps. Margins got wiped out. Net result? UA stock plunged from $50 to $10 in two years. Now, though, Under Armour is starting to show signs of life again.

UA monthly (Jan 2016)  (live monthly UA chart)

Fitness Tech:

Under Armour may only now be getting into gadgets, but it's been assembling the necessary components for a while. On the software side, the platform draws on technology and expertise from three startups it acquired for a total of more than $700 million: Thurston's MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal, and Endomondo. Even after all that splurging, the company isn’t embarking on this new foray on its own. Instead, it's collaborating with smartphone maker HTC on the HealthBox gadgets, including the UA Band wearable, which evolved out of the Grip, a band which HTC announced last March but never shipped in its original form. JBL, a division of audio behemoth Harman, is similarly working with Under Armour on the $180 wireless headset and an upcoming $250 headset with a built-in heart-rate monitor.

Jan 2016: Taiwan-based mobile-phone network company HTC and Under Armour unveil the UA HealthBox consisting of UA Band, Scale and Heart Rate for $400

  • The UA Band is a wearable that is aimed at tracking your fitness activities. It is capable of tracking your workouts, sleep cycle, steps taken, heart rate, calories burnt and more. All of this data is logged to the UA Record app. On a single charge, the UA Band lasts anywhere between 5 to 7 days, and if you don’t move for 60 minutes, it vibrates gently to remind you to do so. You can buy the UA Band separately for $180.
  • Rather than going the Fitbit route of selling the same gizmo in a variety of styles, Under Armour is betting everything on a single aesthetic: black, complemented by red which shows up in places such as the inside of the band and the underside of the scale.
UA band

UA Headphones Wireless - Engineered by JBL  $180

UA inaugural “smart” shoe, the UA SpeedForm Gemini 2 Record Equipped.

The shoe accumulates and stores data from the workout, including time, date, duration, distance, and splits, without hindering the athlete’s run with a tracking device. The shoe retails for $150 and will be available on Feb. 29 via the brand’s website and select specialty running stores.

UA SpeedForm® Slingshot; Women’s Running Shoes;  $139.99
3D knit upper features woven in Dyneema®, the world's strongest fiber, for the ultimate in durable flexibility

©Artremis / Eva Sawicka (1/16)

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