In this article, Forbes spoke with Under Armor's CEO Kevin Plank about how he sees technology influencing not just Under Armour but also the entire retail industry. Although Under Armour makes 70% of its revenue in apparel, they have recently been investing billions of dollars in technology and have acquired three fitness apps and created their own fitness technology.
His first point was the fact that this year's Super Bowl was in Silicon Valley is a great indication of the direction that Under Armour and athletic apparel companies are moving towards. Each team in the NFL uses Microsoft tablets on the sidelines. Technology companies like Microsoft are expanding their markets, like athletics, to grow their business, just like Under Armour wants to grow their business and stay competitive by moving into new markets. Plank explains the scope and impact of technology today in a business sense, “What are we gonna do if Apple decides they’re going to make a shirt, or they’re going to make a shoe, and more importantly, why don’t we beat them to it?” Under Armour’s competitors aren’t just Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and other athletic apparel companies but also Apple, Google, etc. This is not because they have entered into the market of technology but because technology companies are entering their market.
Plank noted that they’re not the only athletic apparel company, or company in general, that is investing in technological research. Companies in all fields recognize the importance of investing in technological research because their consumers’ lives are becoming more focused on technology. Consumers want two things from technology: convenience and information. Under Armour is striving to give their consumers both of these things by putting all the information that they need about their health in one product, “Health Box.” Health Box provides customers with a scale, a wristband, and a chestband, and all of the information recorded on these three devices are sent and can be tracked on Under Armour’s fitness apps: MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal, and Endomondo.
Not only are consumers constantly searching for more information but so is Under Armour. Fitness products, like Health Box, give athletic apparel companies increased information and a type of information that they have never received before. Under Armour can now track the health of their customers, giving them greater insight in to what their customers could want and need from Under Armour. This kind of data goes far beyond marketing research tests and surveys, and can change the way the industry works.
I feel that the article could have given readers more information about the success of the fitness technology that Under Armour has, if Plank feels that more of their revenue will be coming from technology than from apparel in the future, and how social media plays a part in this process.