Under Armour has overtaken Adidas for the first time among sportswear brands in the US, the Wall Street Journal reported. The US brand’s sales are up 20% to $1.2 billion so far this year, while its German rival’s sales are down 23% to $1.1 billion. But both companies are still several times smaller than the number one sportswear brand. Nike has generated $8.9 billion in sales over the same period.
Under Armour has been upping its profile slowly but surely. It jumped in with a $200-million bid to sponsor basketball superstar Kevin Durant, whose contract with Nike was set to expire. Nike jumped back in with a $350-million offer. “We wanted to send a message to every athletic director, to every president of every team club, to every league commissioner,” Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank told Bloomberg. “If you have a deal, there’s no deal too big for us.”
The firm also successfully boosted its image with viral ads. One featured a ballerina who was told at 13 years old that she didn’t have the right body to make it:
This week, the company launched a new ad featuring Gisele, the highest-paid model in the world and wife of football star Tom Brady, who is sponsored by Under Armour:
Meanwhile, Adidas acknowledged that it has a lot to do if it is to win over US consumers, especially as Nike is doing well in its home German market. “In America, companies like our two main competitors are constantly reinventing the model,” Adidas’s North American head Mark King told the Journal. “The people really winning here are adapting to consumers and the marketplace. We just have to move faster.”