Nike and Under Armour: Big Data in the world of clothing and accessories

Nike and Under Armour: Big Data in the world of clothing and accessories

How Nike and Under Armour are using Big Data in practice

Nike has 13 different lines, in more than 180 countries, but how it segments and serves those markets is its real differentiator. Nike calls it “category offense”, and divides the world into sporting endeavours rather than just geography. The theory is that people who play golf, for example, have more in common than people who simply happen to live near one another. This retail and marketing strategy is largely driven by Big Data.

Another place the company has invested heavily in data is with wearables and technology. Although it discontinued its own FuelBand fitness wearable in 2014, Nike continues to integrate with many other brands of wearables, including Apple, which has recently announced the Apple Watch Nike+. But the company clearly has big plans for its Big Data as well. In a 2015 call with investors about Nike’s partnership with the NBA, Nike CEO Mark Parker said their goal was to enrich the fan’s experience, adding, “What can we do to digitally connect the fan to the action they see on the court?”

Meanwhile, upstart Under Armour is betting heavily that Big Data will help it overtake Nike. The company 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.

Along with a partnership with a wearables company, these acquisitions will drive a strategy that puts Under Armour directly in the path of where Big Data is headed: wearable tech that goes way beyond watches. In the not-too-distant future, wearables won’t just refer to bracelets or sensors you clip on your shoes, but rather apparel with sensors built in that can report more data more accurately about your movements, your performance, your route and location, and more.


Ideas and insights you can steal

As Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank has said, “Brands that do not evolve and offer the consumer something more than a product will be hard-pressed to compete…” In this age of added value, interconnectedness and increasing personalisation, I cannot agree more. Companies that do not harness Big Data to offer their customers more will be left in the dust.

You can read more about how companies are using Big Data to drive success in Big Data in Practice: How 45 Successful Companies Used Big Data Analytics to Deliver Extraordinary Results.



Written by

Bernard Marr

Bernard Marr is an internationally bestselling author, futurist, keynote speaker, and strategic advisor to companies and governments. He advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations on strategy, digital transformation and business performance. LinkedIn has recently ranked Bernard as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world and the No 1 influencer in the UK. He has authored 16 best-selling books, is a frequent contributor to the World Economic Forum and writes a regular column for Forbes. Every day Bernard actively engages his almost 2 million social media followers and shares content that reaches millions of readers.

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