SBD/November 6, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

With Vonn In Fall Campaign, Under Armour Sees Potential For Women's Apparel

Vonn's notoriety may help UA improve sales of women's merchandise
U.S. skier and Under Armour endorser Lindsey Vonn is "poised to be the face of an ad campaign this fall for the athletic company's 'Infrared' cold-weather gear," according to Michael McCarthy of AD AGE. Marketing firm DLB President Darcy Bouzeos said that Vonn has the "most marketing buzz by far" heading into the Sochi Games. Other Vonn sponsors include Red Bull, Oakley, Rolex and Head (ADAGE.com, 11/4). Meanwhile, UA Founder, Chair & CEO Kevin Plank said that women's apparel sales account for 30% of business, up from 20% eight years ago and "outpacing the overall growth of the company." In Baltimore, Sara Meehan noted UA "projects revenue" of $2.26B this year, meaning women's sales would come in around $680M. Nike as it stands "is running away with the women's sportswear market." Nike last year controlled 21.3% of the market and "lays claim" to 26.1% of the women's sportswear market. UA has 14.1% of the women's market. Nike has "grand plans to nearly double its women's business in the next few years." But Nike Global Corporate Communications Dir Mary Remuzzi said that the company "does not see women's as a segment that will eclipse its menswear sales." However, UA "has a different philosophy." Plank last month said, "Women's has the potential to be larger than men's." UA VP/Women's Apparel Gwyn Wiadro said that she "sees early evidence of success on the women's side domestically and in foreign markets like Europe, Asia and South America." UA is "backing its goal to grow sales of women's apparel with investments in the women's segment." UA this year "began creating three marketing 'holidays' in February, July and November," with the month-long marketing campaigns "designed to highlight a particular technology or product." The February '14 "marketing push will be the first campaign dedicated to women's products" (BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/1 issue).

TAILOR-MADE: Meehan notes UA is "tailoring the shopping experience to women in different venues: in its brand houses, in sporting goods stores and in department stores." UA's brand house "displays equal parts women's and men's products, and the strategy has paid off," as sales "reflect a 50-50 split between the men's and women's lines." UA is "taking steps to make female customers feel more at home in sports stores through miniature studios called 'Shop-in-shops.'" It is a "store within a store, where Under Armour's retail partners dedicate floor space specifically to the brand instead of mixing it in with competitor brands" (BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/1 issue).
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