What Under Armour Will Focus On Going Forward: Women’s Segment (Part 1)

by Trefis Team
Under Armour
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To say that Under Armour (NYSE:UA) has had a rough year would be a severe understatement. Over the past few quarters, a confluence of events that have occurred in the North American athletic sector, including bankruptcies and store closures, declining productivity, traffic, and shifting fashion preferences, has contributed to declining sales in the U.S. and Canada, which accounts for over 70% of the company’s total sales.

That said, CEO Kevin Plank, has announced plans to initiate a restructuring strategy (“a pivot”) that could potentially provide some relief to investors in the near future. He has many ideas in this respect, which include, but are not limited to, increasing the product offerings for women and children, focusing more on international markets, offering more lifestyle than performance apparel, and concentrating on increasing its direct-to-consumer channels; basically the opposite of everything the company vied for in the past.

Women’s Segment To See Overhaul

Most brands in the male-centric activewear space have largely ignored women when designing their products. In general, most sportswear manufacturers tend to design apparel for men, which are then made in smaller sizes with brighter colors to attract female customers. Incidentally, it is this vacuum that enabled Lululemon to take the women’s athleisure market by storm.

Under Armour, like its competitors Nike and Adidas, has been called out on this issue many times over the years. However, the company now sees heavy potential in a market that is largely untapped. Given that women account for roughly 50% of the world’s population, it only makes sense that apparel companies should cater to their needs as much as they cater to men. Under Armour has decided to change things around in this respect.

Earlier in the year, the company launched a 100% digital campaign with over 300 pieces of content that celebrates unparalleled accomplishments of female athletes that have proved themselves time and again. In keeping with their MVP strategy, the company collaborated with spoken word artists to shine light on Under Armour athletes like Misty Copeland, Alison Désir, Natasha Hastings, and others. Through this campaign, the company has managed to rake in millions of views, while recording significant spikes in relevancy and engagement rates.

Additionally, the company has worked on improving designs, while increasing their product offerings for women overall. In the most recent earnings call, Under Armour stressed the need to innovate women’s designs, and in general, cater more specifically to women’s athletic needs, which differ significantly from that of men.

Going forward, Under Armour hopes to grow the women’s business into a billion dollar segment that competes at power with men’s and footwear. Its long term plan is to create a perfect balance between women’s, men’s, footwear, and international businesses that efficiently complement each other.

We will further elaborate on possible growth strategies in the upcoming parts to this series.

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