Under Armour Unveils $400 Digital Health Kit At CES

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In 2015, Under Armour announced that it would make major investments in its digital health ecosystem in an effort to win the space and, ultimately, draw in the kinds of fitness enthusiasts that make up the bulk of its customer base. This vision met reality in February 2015, when the apparel company dropped more than $500 million on its acquisitions of MyFitnessPal and Endomondo, immediately establishing itself as a major player in the digital health fitness sector. One year earlier, Under Armour acquired MapMyFitness for $150 million and as a result, Under Armour now controls a digital health ecosystem with 150 million active users spread across three fitness apps. While Under Armour trails its chief rival Nike in total revenue, its digital platform is now five times larger than the Nike+ platform.

Under Armour has spent the months since its acquisitions weaving its apps into a single platform called UA Record that pulls information from its own apps as well as competitors to present users with a snapshot of sleep, fitness, activity levels, and nutritional information. Under Armour has also been working with R&D partner HTC on several new supplementary hardware options. This week, at CES 2016, the company unveiled its new hardware platform, called UA HealthBox.  Retailing at $400, Under Armour’s new fitness devices are being marketed as the “world’s first Connected Fitness system.” HealthBox includes a fitness tracker that measures steps, resting heart rate, workout intensity, and sleep patterns; a wireless scale; and a chest strap that tracks heart rate during exercise. All of the information collected from the devices is automatically pushed to Under Armour’s digital health platform, creating a seamless, synchronized ecosystem. Under Armour also announced a new smart shoe that monitors exercise duration and distance, and two models of wireless headphones, one of which monitors heart rate.

The devices included in the UA HealthBox are also being sold as a stand-alone products and are expected to start shipping on January 22. Valued at just $4 billion, Under Armour has invested nearly $1 billion in its ambitious plan to win the digital health war against Nike, a decision Morningstar retail analyst Paul Swinand calls “very risky.” UA’s Chief Digital Officer Robin Thurston explains the strategy: “Facebook is synonymous with social. LinkedIn is synonymous with business. We really believe that we can be that destination for all things health and fitness.”


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