Under Armour Looks to Take a Bite Out of FuelBand Success with MapMyFitness Acquisition

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It’s no longer enough to just go for a run. Athletes and first-steppers alike are more data driven than ever, feeding off of fitness apps that tell them how many steps they’ve taken, their heart rate, calories burned and so on. After all, if it can be measured, it can be improved.

Following the runaway success of personal fitness trackers like Nike’s FuelBand, main competitor Under Armour has announced that it has acquired MapMyFitness for about $150 million. It may not have cost UA too much, but the addition of the new technology will lift the company to a whole other level in the fitness business.

The one differentiator that will set UA apart (and perhaps above) competitors? MapMyFitness analyzes data from multiple mobile device brands and operating systems, unlike Nike’s FuelBand, which works exclusively with Apple’s iOS.[more]

Under Armour has been steadily building its athletic empire both in the US and abroad, capped off by its recent opening of a “retail theater” in Shanghai that focuses on introducing consumers to fitness. With $1.8 billion in revenue in 2012 and sixteen consecutive quarters of growth under its belt, Under Armour has steadily expanded its product offerings, from sweat-whicking undergarments to shoes and equipment. And now, it’s facing one of the industries 800-pound gorillas head-on by entering the personal tech fray. 

Research firm Gartner predicts that “sales of fitness devices, apps and services are expected reach $5 billion by 2016,” according to the Wall Street Journal. This year, they should bring in about $1.6 billion.

MapMyFitness currently has 20 million users, with 9 million of them using the app at least once a month. One of its benefits is that it “allows users to share workout data with friends as an incentive to exercise a little longer,” The Verge notes. And while Under Armour started selling a heart-rate monitoring device in 2011, the addition of MapMyFitness will open up a whole new range of activity monitors. 

“People may wonder if we are getting away from our core with this acquisition [because it’s software],” Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank told Forbes. “But I think it’s important that we’re there. It’s a long-term play in the space. There’s no reason we should just sit around and wait for Google to do this.”

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