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How Digital Campaigns Are Powering Sales for Sportswear Firms

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Nike, Under Armour launch largest women’s campaigns

As mentioned in earlier parts of this series, sportswear firms are looking at women’s wear as a key growth opportunity. Nike (NKE) and Under Armour (UA) each recently launched some of their biggest campaigns ever targeted at women. In April, Nike launched the #betterforit digital campaign, its largest-ever campaign for women, at the MTV Music Awards.

Last August, UA launched one of its largest campaigns ever targeted at women. Called “I will what I want,” the campaign features pro tennis player Sloane Stephens, ballet star Misty Copeland, skier Lindsey Vonn, and model Gisele Bündchen, among others.

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Exponential growth in digital

Part of the reason sportswear firms are concentrating on the opportunity in women’s wear is the increasing number of women participating in training, yoga, and running clubs as well as the number of personalized fitness app downloads in digital communities.

Nike (NKE) has a digital community of almost 70 million women around the world. What’s more, 54% of the runners logging a run in the Nike+ Running Club are women. According to the company, women are signing on at a record pace and in greater numbers than men, with the greatest participation coming from China and Europe. Sales from Nike’s women’s training business grew at a double-digit pace in Europe in 3Q15 on a currency-neutral basis.

In contrast, Under Armour (UA), which recently acquired fitness app firms Endomondo and MyFitnessPal, had a digital community of 72 million women in 1Q15. Of the company’s total number of connected fitness users, ~43% are outside North America, mostly in Europe. As a result, as we saw in Part 7 of this series, it’s becoming more important to look at establishing a larger presence in Europe to take advantage of latent opportunities.

Adidas (ADDYY) doesn’t disclose comparative numbers. However, the company is looking to roll out more women’s-only stores globally in the future.

NKE and UA together constitute ~0.9% of the portfolio holdings in the iShares S&P 500 Growth ETF (IVW) and 0.8% in the iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF (IWF).

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