Kevin Plank on the Future of Under Armour and the Online Fitness Industry

Kevin Plank is sticking to the company’s mission “to make all athletes better.” But recently he has been redefining “high performance gear” from clothes to products and programs driven by data from health apps.

Since 2018, Under Armour has spent $710 million acquiring three leading providers of diet- and activity-tracking sports apps. These acquisitions give Under Armour access to information from 150 million users. Plank’s vision is that mass of data will power product development to distribution to merchandising to marketing, and the 150 million users of the apps can be retained or recruited as customers.

Under Armour acquired MapMyFitness, a GPS-based fitness tracker, in late 2013. After this acquisition, Plank and company executives spent an uncharacteristically long time planning their next move. Kevin Plank and professional cyclist Robin Thurston identified four pillars of performance — activity, nutrition, fitness, and sleep — and then acquired two other companies to collect the data to help customers achieve their goals. Under Armour bought San Francisco-based MyFitnessPal, a meal-logging app, and Endomondo, a Danish company providing a training program with global reach. 

These acquisitions gave Under Armour answers to a riddle it had never been able to solve before: “What do customers do with Under Armour products after they purchase them?” Answers to this fundamental question have empowered the company to produce new products that more precisely meet customer needs.

And the new acquisitions give the company the ability to suggest timely purchases. Under Armour reports that the average order coming in from a fitness community app is 26 percent higher than the average of other orders online.

But will this $3/4-billion investment pay off? Plank thinks so.

Recently, Under Armour was able to create Sportsmask, a non-medical face mask it designed specifically for athletes to wear while working out to meet mask requirements. The Sportsmask sold out in under one hour.