Retail

Earnings Call: Brand Favorability Spikes for Under Armour

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Under Armour is poised to release their first quarter 2019 results on Thursday, and will be trying to surpass Wall Street’s estimates for the fourth quarter out of the last five.

In the ultra-competitive footwear and performance apparel categories, being able to continuously beat the street is no easy task.

And while we’re not in the business of forecasting success or failure on Wall Street, things certainly seem to be trending in the right direction for this 15-year-old brand, especially when you consider brand awareness.

But before we talk about that, we have to talk about this.  The two charts below cover Under Armour clothing and shoe favorability over the last four years. 

Favorability of both Under Armour clothing and shoes has risen over the past year or two, with no signs of slowing down.

What seems to have triggered this upswing in people liking/loving the brand is easy enough to see in the favorability charts below, and probably great news to the Under Armour team.

Let’s start with age. The first chart, from April 1, 2017, to April 1, 2018 – roughly when the upswing in favorability (“likes” and “loves”) began – shows different age groups and their opinions concerning Under Armour clothing.

The chart below asks the same questions, just moves things up a year.

The rise in favorability among the 18-29 and 30-44 crowds has been nothing short of dramatic over the past two years. Under Armour favorability among young people (18-29) moved from 31% to 46% while the 30-44-year-old group saw an extremely similar increase to 45% from 32%.  While less drastic, Under Armour saw favorability rise in the older 45-64 population as well – jumping from 35% to 42%.

The story was more of the same in the shoe department, with one big difference.

Again, you’ll note the increased favorability among the 18-29 age group, with favorability increasing to 41% in April 2019.

However, while the brand seems to have remained stagnant in the minds of teens under 18 in the clothing category, their favorability towards the footwear side of the business jumped to 50% from 33% in just 2 years. It seems this will bode well for the future of Under Armour’s footwear division.

Drilling down on more specific audiences, let’s not forget that Under Armour, at its core, is generally made for people to sweat in.

From April 2017 through April 2018, there was a correlation between how often a person exercises and their favorability towards Under Armour clothing.

But fast forward a year, and the numbers tell a different story. The brand may have moved away from being somewhat exclusively for those devoting time to fitness. A change in mentality like this could be related to the increase in popularity of the athleisure and activewear trends – a wave that Under Armour can continue to ride in terms of favorability.

But it’s not all super wonderful great fantastic news for Under Armour. In fact, it would seem fans of the NBA are stagnating a bit on a brand, specifically the sneaker section.

Now, remember – massive NBA stars like Steph Curry and Joel Embiid are the faces of Under Armour. Curry has been with the company since 2013, Embiid since last year. Outside of Tom Brady in the NFL, Under Armour arguably doesn’t have two bigger stars in their midst. Their NBA fanbase, unlike the public at large, has had strong, but stagnant rates of favorability over the last 2 years.

Clearly, favorability of Under Armour has skyrocketed over the last two years, something any company CEO would be thrilled to see.

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