Nike vs Under Amour: A Case Study

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Thesis Statement

Nike provides better sporting wear than Under Armour regarding quality.


The study seeks to establish the best sportswear manufacturer between Under Armour and Nike based on their prices against quality. Both Nike and Under Armour are US-based sportswear products that have captured global markets. Nike has its headquarters in Oregon while Under Armour currently centers in Maryland. Nike ranks among the top multinational companies both locally and internationally. Currently, Nike sits in 89th position in Fortune 500. The company founded in 1964 was worth $29 billion in 2017. Nike has employed over 44,000 workers and its records revenues of over $20 billion annually. Nike offers stiff competition in the sportswear industry that includes giants such as Adidas and Under Armour. Currently, Nike is the kit sponsor for some of the top European football clubs such as Chelsea, PSG, and Barcelona. Under Armour has also not remained behind as it is the official shirt sponsor for Liverpool alongside other top football clubs. However, it would be easy to assume that Nike is ahead of Under Armour in the sportswear industry regarding the number of top athletes and sporting teams that it currently contracts. Unlike Nike, Under Armour had revenues of around $5 billion in 2017.

Emergence of Under Armour

The recent rise of Under Armour to emerge as one of the top sportswear dealers globally has been a shock to its competitors. Under Armour has continued to associate with top sports teams around the world. Currently, Under Armour has offices all over Europe and Asia. Since the company offers high-quality products at prices slightly cheaper than the giant dealers such as Adidas and Nike, it might topple them in the near future.

Nike's Journey

Nike began long before the emergence of Under Armour. It started store selling shoes from Japan manufactured by Onisuka, currently known as Asics. At that time, Nike used a brand name known as Blue Ribbon Sports. Nike emerged before the era of media and information but still managed to beat its competitors in the market. Nike becomes more competitive than other rivals in the market including Adidas, Reebok, Fila, and Asics. One area that made Nike succeed in the sports industry was the entrepreneurial spirit.

Under Armour's Success

Under Armour, on the other hand, has succeeded in the market due to its continued investment in media resources. An athlete known as Kevin Plank founded the company with a vision of revolutionizing the sports apparel market. The company started by manufacturing football t-shirts from the same fabric used to make shorts. The company's innovation was a hit and it went ahead to conquer the sports industry by sponsoring leagues such as MLB, NBA, and NFL. The company became a major sportswear manufacturing firm in the US.

Preference in Different Industries

Currently, Under Armour draws a lot of preference from the fitness industry, unlike Nike that succeeds in the shoe industry. One of the reasons behind Under Amour's popularity in the fitness industry is its successful marketing strategy. The company embarked on a marketing strategy that saw its partnership with the famous world wrestler, Dwayne Johnson, popularly known by his stage name as the Rock. Under Armour further brought other athletes on board including Michael Phelps, Lindsey Vonn, John Abraham, Tom Brady, Andy Murray, Kobe Bryant, Mohamed Ali, Antony Joshua, among others.

Comparison of Revenue Sources

A comparison of the revenue sources for the two companies established that Nike has been successful in the shoe industry while Under Armour beats it in the sports apparel industry. The proponents of Under Armour believe that the company provides more appealing colors of the sports apparel than Nike. However, a closer look at the revenues believes that Nike provides high-quality shoes as compared to Under Armour. Nike offers a large variety of shoes based on color and sizes. Nike possesses a more innovative technology than Under Armour that makes them produce new designs in the market attracting many clients.

Store Design and Variety

One area that makes Nike control the market over Under Armour is the design of their stores and the variety available in those stores. A visit to the stores of each of the two companies found a significant difference. Under Armour always has fewer varieties of their products in the store. The company may stock the same size of certain products, denying the clients the chance to choose the best sizes for them. Besides, they offer few varieties of colors forcing clients to sometimes purchase the colors they do not desire. Nike will, however, fill their shops with several types of products regarding sizes, designs, and colors.

Customer Preference

The study further found that Under Armour is poor in designing their stores. The company is fond of decorating their shops with big pictures of their partner athletes instead of making the stores fit the demands of the customers. The Nike stores have good facilities such as a basketball pitch and fitting equipment where the customers can test their products before purchasing. It is for this reason that Nike stores are always full of customers unlike Under Armour shops that only have the shopkeepers most of the times. Thus, the study concludes that Nike still beats Under Armour regarding customer preference.

August 21, 2023

Business Sports



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