For Under Armour, Nike, wearables increasingly lucrative

Sportswear titans Nike and Under Armour are making strides to grab their share of the burgeoning mHealth market, aiming to entice fitness-minded customers to embrace health apps and wearables.

Thanks to health app acquisitions, Under Armour, a $19 billion company, says its Connected Fitness platform currently boasts more than 130 million unique users. Nike, an $86 billion company, says its fitness tracking and app ecosystem, NikeFuel, has even more than that, company leaders tell the Washington Post.

One advantage for these companies over Apple and Google, according to the article, is that their customers not only are tech savvy, but also already healthcare-conscious, although Nike did forge a partnership with Apple in October to collaborate on wearables.

Recent research reveals there is a growing connection between consumer interest in wellness and wearable adoption. A Tractica report cites employer wellness programs as the top driver for wearable devices. And a Makovsky Health/Kelton study claims two-thirds of Americans are interested in digital tools for managing personal health and such eagerness will drive deeper adoption of wearables.

The quest now by both Nike and Under Armour is to propel fitness-minded consumers to buy mHealth devices and wearable clothing that promise to provide deeper data regarding exercise activity and health-related issues.

Under Armour's MapMyFitness is partnering with Zappos to give sneaker wearers insight on workouts and when footwear needs to be replaced. Such fitness tracking capability enables Under Armour to connect "to our consumer like not other brand on the planet," CEO Kevin Plank tells the Post.

Both companies also are putting a focus on female users, who represent the majority of the workout population, according to the article. Plank says more than 60 percent of Under Armour's users are female and believes the women's segment may prove to grow as large, "if not bigger," than its male business.

For more information:
- read the Washington Post report

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