Tuesday, November 22, 2016

“How Nike and Under Armour Became Big Data Businesses”

This article, “How Nike and Under Armour Became Big Data Businesses” by Bernard Marr discusses how Nike and Under Armour are evolving the sports apparel industry, using innovative technology and big data methods. Both companies, are heavily pursuing unique apps, cutting-edge technology and data tracking methods in attempt to make a ground-breaking line of “wearable tech” sports apparel, that will decisively separate their brand as the superior product in the industry.
Nike looks to accomplish this through integration with Apple, recently announcing the Apple Watch Nike +. This integration with Apple coupled with their “Category Offense” marketing plan, which groups their consumers by specific athletic activity rather than demographics, will allow Nike to stay extremely competitive in the sports apparel industry, as they attract not only their consistent consumers but also the massive Apple fan base.
            On the other hand, Under Armor, who have been pursuing Nike as the superior sports apparel company for years, seek to overtake them by innovating unique sports apparel that tracks big data with extreme precision and exactness. Under Armour is heavily investing in “wearable tech that goes way beyond a watch.” They want to create a product that doesn’t just track your steps or your heart beat. They want to create a product that can change your life, using big data to precisely track fitness, health, location, and general lifestyle way beyond any previous device.
            After evaluating both Nike and Under Armour’s methods of innovating the next ground-breaking product in the sports apparel industry, I find myself more attracted to the Nike product. With the Apple Watch Nike +, Nike looks to penetrate a new market which will most likely attract countless new customers. The pairing with Apple also permits Nike to access massive amounts of big data stored by Apple, which allows Nike to create a more unique and customized product experience for its consumers. Nike also has the advantage of enabling this product to operate on all Apple technology, which will make it more attractive to the Apple consumer market and ultimately a more convenient product for Nike consumers in general.  
            I believe Under Armour is also looking to create an innovative product that will take the sports apparel industry by storm, however, their product plans seem to be too similar to existing products, such as the Fitbit. I do not believe UA’s product will be able to compete with Nike simply because of the massive market Nike is going to appeal to and the massive amount of data they will have access to, paired with Apple.
            In conclusion, Big Data and technology are the future of the sports apparel industry. I believe whichever company learns how to successfully incorporate big data with their apparel and provide accurate life changing statistics to their users, will ultimately thrive in the industry in years to come.

Marr, Bernarn. "How Nike And Under Armour Became Big Data Businesses." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 15 Nov. 2106. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.


  1. This article was well spoken and dove into the details of the competitive market Nike and Under Armour are both competing in. Most athletic wear companies are designing products around big data and fitness wearable technology. I think Nike’s move to partner with Apple in the creation of the Apple Watch Nike+ was a genius idea, because both Apple and Nike have such a tremendous fan base, so both brands have the potential to piggyback off of each other’s fan base and improve their overall brand recognition. The Nike+ app can also be used seamlessly between all Apple devices and this just provides stress-free convenience for its users. Also, I believe FitBit and other fitness wearable devices will see a huge loss in sales, because of the Apple Watch Nike+. The Apple Watch Nike+ is more than just a fitness device that tracks how many miles you walked and calories burned, since it is also a fully-functional smart watch- the capabilities are endless. However, for someone who just needs a simple, fitness-tracking device then a FitBit might be a better option. The Apple Watch Nike+ was designed for the user who appreciates a variety of functionalities and utilizes the latest technology available.

    I think Under Armour will face tremendous competition in the fitness wearable market. They will need to create something that is extremely innovative or partner with another big name in wearable devices. Nike has an advantage over Under Armour, which is solely based on their partnership with Apple, because Nike will have access to the massive big data stored by Apple. Under Armour will have a difficult time tapping into the fitness wearable devices, because they will encounter a lot of trial and errors, while Nike has already developed a fitness wearable device in the past, which was the Nike FUEL band. It’s going to be interesting to see how Under Armour will compete against Nike and it’s partnership with Apple.

  2. I think it is interesting to see Nike and Under Armour emerge as the top two sports-apparel brands that offer products that can really gather and utilize big data. As far as the health industry is concerned, these smart-watches that are coming out in the market that have heartbeat monitor, the ability to turn the lights in the house on or off, control your smartphone or make phone calls, are making patient profiles way easier to monitor and track the health of those who use it. This data could definitely be worth a lot to doctors or sports-medicine companies who need or track athletes' (i.e. the target market for these products) information.

    I think the wearables that go into these sports devices are going to evolve simultaneously as the effect of Moore's law increases as time goes on. They started as large data centers, then became computers, then became cell-phones, then became wearable watches. What is next? An implanted chip in every human that is smaller, cheaper, and has more storage than what's in an Apple watch now? While the technology shows no signs of slowing down, it will be interesting to see what these two companies in particular come up with in terms of products tailored towards active people.

    I personally think that the partnership between Nike and Apple will trump anything with Under Armour. Under Armour may have sharper and more innovative products that are going to market, but I feel like Nike has the stronger IT department and R&D potential in terms of using the data given to them. It will also be very interesting to see at what point the technology in this field will be patented, which will instantly make the value of these athletes' data skyrocket.


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