Under Armour plans to spend $700m on fitness apps in a bid to offset the relationship its retailers have with shoppers by forging its own direct-to-customer ties.
The fee was reported by the Wall Street Journal and comes as the company’s chief executive Kevin Plank predicts mobile devices will extend to clothing as health and fitness become intrinsic to how people use their smartphones.
Under Armour is growing the concept through a mix of R&D and M&A yet remains coy about what direction its investments will ultimately take. MapMyFitness, Ndomondo and MyFitnessPal were all acquired by Under Armour in the last 12 months.
The investments show that like rivals Nike and Adidas, Under Armour is now channelling its efforts on software rather than hardware. The shift aims to forge direct-to-consumer ties with Under Armour and its peers spotting an opportunity to bost their reach as people’s media habits become more fragmented.
The American sportswear maker's efforts to merge technology and apparel have not always been successful. Uniforms it supplied to the US speedskating team at last year’s Winter Olympics were blamed for the group's poor performances, while it launched a performance tracking shirt in 2011 that eventual evolved into a heart rate monitor.