Thursday, November 17, 2016

Big Data in the Athletic Market

            Bernard Marr, a big data and analytics journalist, wrote an article about the competition between Nike and Under Armour and the reason that UA can make moves to overtake Nike, called “How Nike and Under Armour Became Big Data Businesses.” Marr speaks about how the ways in which Nike and UA compete are changing and both are capitalizing by turning their brands into lifestyle brands for athletes by investing in apps, wearables, and using big data.
            I think it is a fun time to be in the athletic apparel industry because these days, there is so much to expand into. Before, the athletic apparel industry was strictly clothing and shoes, but now it is getting into technology and apps which is expanding the industry outside of the ordinary realms it used to fall in. Both companies are not afraid to be innovative and take risks. Nike has displayed this when they took a chance on a new marketing approach based on sports interests instead of geography (category offense) and with their plans to digitally connect NBA fans to the action and the players on the court using big data. Under Armour has shown this when they acquired three fitness apps to gain the users and all of the user’s collected data and their new HealthBox, a full suite of activity and nutritional tracking.
            Big data is showing to be invaluable to this industry. I would take on UA’s bet that big data is going to be the thing that allows them to overtake Nike as the leader in the industry. They alone invested $710 million to acquire the three fitness app companies I mentioned in the previous paragraph and I do believe that making these moves now, will set them up for success in the future. UA is showing that they can and will do what it takes to compete and win. By focusing on big data, they are moving towards the future of the athletic industry. To plan for the future of the industry is necessary to be a leader and competitor. Anticipating what people want before they even know it is also a key factor. Knowing that big data can go beyond just wearable technology, and lead to such things as apparel with sensors that does everything a wearable can do and more, already puts a company in the industry ahead of the curve. True success though, lies in whether or not the firm has the ability to connect its data to its innovations lab and to the product it sells for their investment to pay off.

            I am excited to see the positions that both these companies are in in the future. It will be interesting to see if Nike begins to slow down in terms of innovation and UA does in fact pass them as number one in the athletic industry. I see a bright future for this industry and big data. The big data aspect certainty provides growth and opportunity for these firms.


  1. I agree that Big Data paired with high tech sports apparel will be the future of the sports apparel industry. I also agree that Under Armour's $710-million-dollar investment in this market will allow them to innovate unique products and eventually over take Nike as the superior company in this industry. Though Nike is working vigorously with Apple to create a product that will attract consumers from both of their massive target markets, I think Nike’s sporty aspect of this product will be outshined by Apple’s innovations. For Under Armour, innovation is ultimately limitless as Kevin Plank, UA’s CEO, has shown that he is willing to invest whatever it takes to create a wearable tech product that uses Big Data to precisely evaluate general health and fitness statistics, more in depth than any other product before it. UA is attempting to invent a system of sensors on their apparel that will track much more then just steps and distance. In the near future, I believe we will see both Nike and UA releasing wearable tech sports apparel that will change the industry forever.
    Both of these companies are looking to tremendously evolve the sports apparel industry in the years to come. As a user of these company’s products, I am excited to see how each company will continue to innovate and ultimately which company will create that quintessential product that will set them apart from other companies in this competitive industry.

  2. Deneca’s article about big athletic companies using big data in their daily business was interesting because companies like Nike and Under Armour are huge retail stores, they are not particularly associated with technology. The article How Nike And Under Armour Became Big Data Businesses states that the two companies are heavily investing in apps, wearables, and big data. The athletic companies want to go beyond just the physical goods they provide, but make their businesses a lifestyle. It is safe to say that we have already seen a shift towards making fitness and health a part of our daily lives through wearable technology like the Nike Fuel Bands or devices like the FitBit. As Under Armour is a fairly newer company their mission has always been to create wearable fitness technology.

    Through the article we see that Nike is committed to become more and more technologically advanced by pairing with Apple, who’s focus is technology. The author makes a good point by stating that companies that want to attract young consumers and employees much incorporate technology and big data in new releases.

    Though Nike has made some attempts to incorporate technology, the article states that Under Armour is planning to use big data to overtake their competitors. Under Armour “has recently invested $710 million in acquiring three fitness app companies, including MyFitnessPal, and their combined community of more than 120 million athletes — and their data.” Under Armour plans to go beyond just wearable fitness trackers such as watches but hopes to integrate wearable technology into their clothes as well. I thought that this was especially cool, as wearing a t-shirt that tracks your movement rather than a watch, or bracelet is much more convenient. As a Fitbit user, I am someone who often forgets to charge or even wear my tracker, however if I owned clothing with sensor built in, I would be less likely to forget. CEO of Under Armour, Kevin Plank, made a good point that technology drives all core businesses and that it is imperative to use big data, and technology as the company moves forward. I would be very interested to see how Under Armour plans to implement this technology in the future and if they really will be able to take down competitors like Nike who have been ever-present.


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