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Under Armour (UA) is a growing company

Under Armour (UA) is a growing company Under Armour (UA) is a growing company in the sports apparel industry whose mission is to“Make all athletes better through passion, science and the relentless pursuit of innovation.” UnderArmour was considered a disruptive innovator in the sports apparel industry from their start. UA wascreated while Kevin Plank, the CEO of the company played football for the University of Maryland. Plankwas frustrated with the repeated changing of his shirts during practice. It was then that he envisioned ashirt that allowed the perspiration to dry, causing the athlete to be quicker, faster, and stronger. Theyachieved such innovation by creating sports apparel using synthetic materials as an alternative to naturalfibers, such as cotton. This important revamp in material resulted in a shirt that provided compressionand wicked perspiration; the shirt also helped regulate body temperature and enhanced performance.The increase in athletic performance distinguished UA from their competitors. UA has undergone manychanges in their strategy since their humble beginnings. The following paragraphs will analyze theircurrent business strategies by completing a SWOT analysis and identify potential strategy goals that willhelp UA reach their potential.Strengths:Under Armour strengths include customer loyalty, and their innovative culture. UA is a wellrespected company and consumers who purchase products from UA often become repeat customers,sometimes deciding to buy exclusively from them. This is due to their good image in the public eye, andtheir endeavor to provide products of the highest quality. UA’s competitors are often slandered by claimsof using sweatshops, while they have been able to avoid such claims by implementing a strict Code ofEthics. In their Code of Ethics, Under Armour states, “we require that all of our manufacturers adhere toa code of conduct regarding quality of manufacturing and working conditions and other social concerns”(Under Armour). Their innovative culture within the company is their most valuable strength. UA’s firstproduct started as an innovative idea, which became a staple product in the industry.Weaknesses:Under Armour’s biggest weaknesses are their lacks of female focus products along with repeated failuresto successfully penetrate the footwear market.Opportunities:Under Armour is certainly doing well as a company, but they are faced with a multitude ofopportunities that, if taken advantage of, could lead to a larger market share. As touched on earlier, UA’s biggest opportunity is to expand on their innovations. Instead of competing with Nike and Adidas inmarkets that are controlled by them, they should continue to create their own markets. UA recentlyspent about $710 million to acquire three of the main health and fitness app developers: MapMyFitness,Endomondo and MyFitnessPal. The acquisitions have provided UA with a community of roughly 150million plus registered users, which log things into the apps such as what they eat and their runningroutes. According to Kevin Plank “Our increased insight into the consumer will empower us with betterinformation to make better business decisions, to build better products, while helping athletes makebetter choices in their own personal health and fitness, and ultimately enriching their lives.” Thisapproach on connected fitness could create huge opportunities in a market that has not fully developedyet.Threats:Under Armour’s threats are their competitors, Nike and Adidas are both established brand in theworld, while UA has been slow to grow outside of the United States. Another threat is the overall healthof the world economy; any negative fluctuation in the economy could affect UA’s sales.Under Armour’s entire strategy has revolved around innovation. This has enabled UA toconstantly develop new products while expanding and strengthening its presence. Furthermore, a broadproduct offering has aided UA in catering to different markets. The company has recently made keyinvestments in areas such as athletic footwear and consumer electronics. Over the past few years, UAhas been attempting to create Connected Fitness, a fitness network much like Facebook’s social networkor LinkedIn’s business network. UA has several fitness apps that help consumers track their health whiledeveloping an online community with the sole purpose of growing sales and brand loyalty. Last year, UAacquired Endomondo and MyFitnessPal, two top-rated health and fitness apps, expanding its ConnectedFitness community to include “more than 150 million registered users.”Under Armour effectively created the performance apparel market, a blue ocean, which hasallowed UA to grow and become recognized within the sports apparel industry. However, UA’s successhas also allowed competitors like Nike and Adidas to imitate its products and design, specifically itsfamous moisture-wicking fabric, driving UA right out of its blue ocean. Now, that UA has found a positionin the wearable hardware market, it has the opportunity to create another blue ocean through its fitnessnetwork. UA’s main challenge will be the increasingly crowded wearable hardware market. Fitbit isconsidered the most dominant competitor by market share, with an estimated 27% of the total marketin 2015. Apple holds the second most market share, while Chinese brand Xiaomi has made massive gains by offering low-cost trackers as low as around $10. As a result, UA may run into trouble trying tocompete in a market flooded with technology companies that possess a great extent of experience withtechnology products. Another challenge is the uncertainty of success UA will have as another apparelcompany attempting to enter a tech world. Nike, UA’s major competitor, exited the wearable hardwaremarket in 2014. Nike’s exit could be a sign that the market may not be as attractive as UA believes, but itcould also be an unexplored opportunity to create the blue ocean market through its fitness network.According to one of Morgan Stanley’s analysts, Under Armour’s Connected Fitness strategy couldbecome worth “billions of dollars under the right circumstances.”