Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Kate Sachs reaches for a pair of Under Armour Speedform Apollo running shoes at Charm City Run in Locust Point in 2014. Under Armour wants to sell more products to women.(The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

In its drive to grow, Under Armour counting on women athletes

As a sportswear brand that aims to double its revenue by 2018, Under Armour is a company in the rise. At its Investor Day event this week, the brand’s upper management said its men’s apparel sales are better than ever.

But with new data and a marketing campaign, Under Armour is focusing on the other half of the population.

“We want women’s (products) to be as big if not bigger than men’s,” said Kelly Cortina, vice president of women’s products to investors Wednesday.

Women’s apparel makes up 30 percent of the brand’s business compared to men’s, said Cortina, adding that Under Armour is just “scratching the surface” with footwear and accessories.

But women’s interest in Under Armour products is increasing rapidly, by around 300 percent this year, according to Adrienne Lofton, the brand’s vice president of marketing.

In July 2014, Under Armour launched its largest women marketing campaign, called “I Will What I Want,” featuring downhill skier Lindsey Vonn, American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland and U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team midfielder Kelley O’Hara. Model Gisele Bundchen was added to the campaign a few months later.

Copeland’s ad, which includes a voiceover reading her rejection letter from a ballet academy, made waves across the Internet and in the advertising world. The ad has more than 9 million views on YouTube.

The company went for more unconventional athletes, such as Copeland and Bundchen, to better reach female consumers after ads with more typical athletes did not generate the buzz Under Armour wanted, said Lofton.

Copeland and Bundchen were on the road with Under Armour to promote the campaign and advertise the company’s new sports bra collection. Copeland traveled around the world to meet fans and introduce them to the brand. Bundchen visited United Kingdom stores to do promotions.

The sports bra series focuses on women’s silhouette and style and was designed at Under Armour’s New York City design house. It’s part of Under Armour’s plan to design “the outfit.”

“We are in the business of dressing athletes,” said Cortina. “We are committed to giving her outfit options seven days a week”

As Under Armour invests more in women’s wear, it’s doing so at a time when the women’s activewear market is growing. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, a record-high of 3.57 million high school girls participate in high school sports today. Under Armour’s women’s activewear market is growing 15 percent annually, and the female team business grew 40 percent this year over last year, said Cortina.

Of the 150 million people who use Under Armour’s Connected Fitness apps, 63 percent are women.

The ad campaign for the revamped UA Record app features a young woman, described as a Johns Hopkins medical student, who is very busy and tries to fit in a workout when she can. By using the data she provides through UA Record, the company wants to give people like her the information she needs to have a good workout with the gear she needs. One member of the management team said he envisions the app being able to send this user a full outfit to her doorstep based on that information.