Sport Innovation/Skins Sportswear/Competitors
For the competitor analysis there will be 2 companies (2XU and BSC) investigated giving general information about the company, looking at their strengths and weaknesses and their innovation potentials.
By comparing SKINS, 2XU, and BSc on the innovation radar, one can see that SKINS has a significant competitive advantage in the value capture category.
In regards to value capture, SKINS is in a much higher position than 2XU and BSc on the innovation radar. By incorporating medical technology and the use of compression garments in the medical field, SKINS has increased the value of their products in the sports industry. Consumers feel they are getting a “better” product because it has been researched and utilized in the medical industry. Therefore, they trust the product, as well as the SKINS brand. 2XU and BSc, on the other hand, fall low on the innovation radar because neither company provides much information in this area. This implies that these companies have not had much innovation in terms of value capture.
When compared to 2XU and BSc, SKINS is the weakest in the areas of solutions, customer, customer experience and brand. In regards to solutions and customer, SKINS has focused on the needs of professional and elite athletes. The company was able to identify a specific set of problems in its target market. SKINS addresses elite athletes’ needs for quicker recovery and improved performance, and their compression garments are designed to provide a solution for these market needs. This focused strategy generates SKINS a competitive advantage over their competitors regarding the effectiveness of targeting a specific customer group and customer need. But at the same with the focus only on elite athletes, SKINS is missing out on the broader and wider customer base, like recreational athletes and leisure-time athletes. Both 2XU and BSc focus on the idea of customization and targeting a wide range of customers.
While there are generally positive customer reviews for the products themselves, the SKINS website is the least customer friendly of the three companies. Both 2XU and BSc offer simplified explanations of the technology of their products, as well as easy site navigation. SKINS’ website, however, is more complicated because it is difficult to navigate. For example, users in Australia are automatically directed to the U.S. page.
SKINS also falls low in the brand category on the innovation radar. The company has become recognizable within the market of elite and professional athletes. However, that is limiting for SKINS because it confines them to a marrow market. They have the opportunity to tap into other markets, such as recreational athletes, but they have failed to do so. While 2XU is in a similar situation as SKINS, BSc has become recognizable in multiple markets due to their brand. Customers can be introduced to their compression garments because they are familiar with their brand name or logo on products such as nutrition products or casual sportswear.
Overall SKINS innovations radar is not as competitive as the ones from BSc and 2XU. SKINS still has many position where the company needs and should improve to maintain competitive advantage and to remain successful in the compression garment industry on the long run.
Background / General Information
2XU is a high-performance sportswear brand supplying a wide range of sports activities with technical sports garments. Through the usages of innovative technology and material combinations 2XU sets new standards in the sector of compression sport garments. 2XU was founded in 2005 in Melbourne by Clyde Davenport and has been expanding rapidly since creation. 2XU is represented worldwide.
The product range goes from compression sports wear, wetsuits, triathlon garments, running garments, cycling garments to accessories. All products are available in different colours and can be totally or semi customized.
There are different innovative aspects and effects which 2XU explains further on its website. There are different types of garments with variable fibre material depending on pressure and thermal aspects resulting in different compression levels. Moisture management increases the airflow, lightens the weight and for optimal moisture transfer. The hydro dynamic effect makes it possible to prevent water penetration from the outside with the effect of making the garments lighter and faster in the water. Also during extreme weather conditions the 2XU compression garments remaining thermal regulated, water resistant, breathable at all times and comfortable during wearing. There are also different kinds of knit form offering the customer the optimal wearing comfort.
Products are distributed through own 2XU stores, authorized dealers or online distribution. There are 4 different websites of 2XU available for Australia, New Zealand, United States and Japan.
Besides using Social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, 2XU has created its own community on its website called “My 2XU”. Members can get news, interchange information and experiences with 2XU’s garments and make new friendships.
Sponsorship / Alliances
Regarding the design process, 2XU is working together with in-house and independent experts. Besides the distribution 2XU is an official apparel supplier to multiple sporting institutions where standards for elite athletes is required. 2XU has alliances and sponsorship contracts with national teams, sporting organisations, institutes and academies of sport in the area of cycling, swimming rowing, netball, cricket, triathlon and athletics. Besides sponsoring world-class and world–champion athletes, 2XU is also involved in sponsoring different kinds of sport events in Australia and New Zealand. Since 2XU is growing and expanding worldwide, they have started to cooperate with Combo, an innovative IT supplier for small-medium-businesses, to improve their computer and software environment and networking of remotes sites.
2XU offers a wide range of products, which can be used in all kinds of sport division. Besides partnerships with authorized dealer retailer, 2XU is presenting its products in its own showrooms giving the clients information about new products and an experience. Additionally, online distribution makes the product available for almost every one around the world. The website is very user-friendly, clear structured and offers also interactive features for customers and authorized dealer. 2XU is not only targeting elite athletes but also recreational athletes and “weekend warriors” within all kinds of sport types. The usage of social media and the own established community “My 2XU” on the website can lead to higher customer loyalty and customer identification with the company and its products. Through the service of custom and semi spec for corporate / team orders and individual clients, compression garments can be designed individually and added with other sponsorship logos. It gives customers an additional value and lets 2XU stand out from its competitors. Weaknesses
Since 2XU is a small company it is limited in its financial, producing and distribution capabilities. 2XU is not obligated to publish its sales figures therefore it cannot be said anything about its financial situation. Nevertheless, 2XU based on the company’s size has only limited resources for production and distribution. Although the area of compressions garment is still a niche market, there are many other small companies selling the clothes with the same aspects and it is hard for 2XU to differentiate themselves from those competitors. Based on the research and the production of the compressions garments, 2XU offers its products at a relatively high price level to maintain a healthy revenue stream. Since 2XU is becoming more and more established worldwide, there should be offered new website in different kinds of languages. Although 2XU is innovation and technology conscious there are no research backups on the website itself.
To gain knowledge about the innovative potential of 2XU, the innovation radar will be applied. Since there could not be found information on everything of the 12 innovations dimensions, some assumptions have to be made.
2XU is offering a new type of products (compression garments) in a niche market and additional services like customizing the product and the community “my 2XU”.
The innovative level of offerings can be seen as high.
2XU is using all different garments component to serve many different types of sport. Same types of fibre materials to create different types of compression garments (full-body, half-body, t-shirts, pants etc.) These again can be used for different sports activities.
The platform of 2XU is innovative but also upgradable.
2XU is offering customized products and is especially giving professional athletes the chance not only to wear 2XU products but also to keep other sponsorship contracts. The compression garments can be product individually in different colours and with different labelling.
“My 2XU” gives the costumers the possibility to connect more easily with other costumers and exchange experiences and get advice for future purchases.
Therefore, it can be said that 2XU is innovative in the area of finding solutions.
Although 2XU is targeting a wide range of athletes (professionals and non-professionals), 2XU is still not reaching out to the main crowd of recreational sport athletes. On the one hand, the reason for it could be because of compression garments being a new option in the field of sports clothes and not everybody being aware of it yet. On the other hand it could be that 2XU is not very well-know within its market niche and could create a bigger customer base by more marketing effort.
The innovative level of customer is towards low.
2XU offers its customers an interactive website with joining a community and interacting and exchange information with other community members. 2XU is sponsoring world-champion athletes and creating its own events to increase its brand awareness and its publicity. Furthermore 2XU distributes its sports clothes also through its own distribution stores giving the customer an experience within the store and more information about 2XU products. Nevertheless, there could be more interface moments create between 2XU and its customer base.
The innovation level is middle high.
Since 2XU is not obligated to publish its revenue streams, it is hard to find a research-based answer. 2XU always strives for new technology and innovation. Therefore it can be assumed that they are also investing in research for better solutions. It is not clear if 2XU is in the possession of patents or other intellectual property, which could resume in additional revenue stream.
Therefore the innovation level is rather low.
There is no information about the internal operations of 2XU. But it can be assumed since 2XU is cooperating with Combo, a provider for software and computer solutions, that also 2XU is also striving to find better ways how to process internal activities.
The innovative level is assumed to be middle high.
There is also no information about how the organization of 2XU is structured. Since there are different players like employees, authorized dealer, etc. and 2XU being to some degree successful in its niche market, it can be assumed that the organizational structure is well developed.
The innovative level is assumed to be in the middle.
There is again no information about 2XU and its suppliers. Having a look at the order time it can be said, that the purchase of standardized products is at a normal time level. Compression garments, which are customized, have a minimum time range of 8 weeks. It seems that 2XU sequence of activities is on a normal level.
Therefore the innovative level is assumed to be rather low.
2XU distributes is clothes through traditional channels like online shopping, authorized sports wear dealer and own distribution stores.
The innovation level is rather middle to low.
2XU is not only using social media networks but has created its own community on its website. As said before, customers can interact and exchange themselves with a possibility of creating new value. Ideas or complaints from customer can used to even improve the business product offerings or services.
Since the community is still small and needs to grow, the innovation level is middle to high.
The brand awareness within the market niche is given. Outside of the market not many people have ever heard of 2XU. There are a lot of possibilities to make the brand better know and to do it in many different creative ways.
The innovation level is low to middle.
“Integrating innovation and ethics for a healthy mind and body.”
Body Science (BSc) is an Australian-owned nutrition and sportswear company established in 1999 to “fill a market niche for innovative and effective health and nutritional supplements based on a philosophy strongly focused on both results and ethics.” BSc’s range of products includes nutritional supplements, performance targeted compression garments, and a wide variety of sportswear. BSc formulates, manufactures, and distributes its products, which are designed for both elite athletes and “weekend warriors” looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle and well being. The range of products targets men, women, and children. BSc offers two websites, one of which focuses solely on compression garments.
“Our corporate mission is to research, formulate and manufacture performance compression and healthy lifestyle supplement solutions. Our team aims to develop safe and effective solutions for a strong healthy body. We seek to improve life, the body and the body’s physical and mental performance from weekend warrior to elite athlete. The geographic domain is Worldwide.”
BSc’s corporate culture incorporates the ideas and philosophies commonly associated with sport, such as teamwork, trust, loyalty, and performance. Employees are referred to as “team members” and its headquarters is called an “administration” rather than an office.
BSc upholds strict ethical policies regarding the production of their products. Since elite athletes use their products in competitions that require products to meet various sporting codes, BSc carefully selects from reputable sources. All nutrition products meet the requirements of the World Anti Doping Agency prohibited list, and BSc graduated medical class 1 compression is made in Australia (link to BSc technology section).
Body Science, BSc, and Body Science Skin are all trademarked.
BSc Body Science Compression Wear
“The Body Science Skin: Taking Athletic Performance to Another Level”
BSc compression garments are made from materials produced in Australia and manufactured in Australia, as well. BSc compression garments allow for quicker recovery, increase endurance and strength levels, increase explosive muscular power, reduce blood lactate concentration, enhance proprioception, reduce muscle oscillation, and reduce likelihood of injury. BSc currently features the new generation Multi Directional Targeted Medical Grade Compression Garment. The company implements a strict policy that ensures products are not released unless they can be supported by results. They include amounts that have been shown to work in research and actual usage. BSc relies on word of mouth recommendations and repeat business, which is the “honest way [they] wish to grow [their] business.” Products are released for sale only when they have proven to be safe, non-toxic, and meet label claim. Compression garments are a Class 1 Medical Device AUSTR number. BSc admits that this may result in a slightly more expensive product, but it ensures a potency and effectiveness not matched elsewhere. BSc compression garments are available online through the website and at a variety of sporting good stores throughout Australia. Compression garments include lines for men, women, and youths, including tops, bottoms, undergarments, and socks.
The BSc Body Science Compression Wear website offers user a variety of features. Users can find the products that best meet their needs through the categories of type of sport (contact, running, aquatic, field, dynamic propulsion, hand-eye sports, contact sports, power activity), sport specific (Aussie rules, cricket, soccer, Rugby League, Rugby Union, baseball and softball, basketball, boxing, cycling, hockey, running, netball, ski, tennis and racquet), targeted technology (mens compression, womens compression, youth compression), and type of athlete (fast, powerful, anticipatory, active, durable, enduring). Each subcategory presents users with the products that BSc thinks best enhances performance in that specific area. The website makes it easy for consumers to purchase BSc products through online purchasing and a list of retailers. For consumers who wish to purchase products online, the website offers a sizing guide for men, women, and children. The website offers a frequently asked questions page, as well as detailed list of elite athletes and teams that use BSc products. The majority of those listed use a combination of BSc compression garments and nutrition products. The BSc website features a section detailing the technology behind the compression garnets and the research used to support their claims. This section features animated graphs, charts, and images that compare BSc products with those of its competitors. The research and technology descriptions use simplified language and images, making it easier for the consumer to understand the science behind the garments.
BSc’s new targeted compression technology has three key features:
Patent pending design target muscle groups by the panels and seams so compression is applied to individual targeted muscle groups. Allows the garment to move with the targeted muscle groups in flecion and extension. Garment encloses each region like a muscle sheath, strengthening and providing support to the targeted muscle groups.
BSc compression garments utilize a warp knitted fabric in the construction of all products to deliver superior graded compression for the life of the garment. BSc claims that many other brands employ a circular knit fabric (Weft knit), which reduces quality. BSc Warp knit uses a total of 7,980 fabric ends while competitors’ circular knit use only 216 fabric ends. The extra fibers result in more durability, and therefore, a longer lifespan for the garment. BSc Warp knit fabrics contain an industry leading 70 Denier fabric with 250 gsm weighted material. Competitors’ circular knit fabrics contain 50 Denier fabric. The greater thickness of BSc compression garments increase muscle power and stability. BSc fabrics also have a higher elastomeric fibre content, which ensure the shape and appearance of the garments stay intact. Precision Testing Laboratories U.S.A. determined BSc compression garments contain superior wicking properties compared to competitors. This means BSc garments showed the strongest moisture management properties and greatest distribution of moisture.
A clinical study indicated that compression garments reduced the severity of delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS). The study showed that a group wearing compression garments had significantly less perceived muscle soreness 24 hours post exercise and no muscle swelling, while the group without compression garments had a 2-3 cm increase in upper arm circumference due to swelling.
It is reported that compression garments are able to significantly reduce longitudinal and anterior-posterior muscle oscillation by 0.32 and 0.40 cm respectively.
During endurance exercise, the use of compression garments has been shown to significantly increase athletes VO2 max levels.
A study found that compression garments reduce blood lactate levels, which could have significant benefits for athletes performing intense exercise during training or competition.
Multiple studies show that vertical jump height increased when athletes were wearing compression garments. This indicates that compression garments result in an increase of explosive power.
Studies and research findings posted on the BSc website are referenced to sports journals, medical journals, and independent third parties.
BSc compression garments have received positive reviews in a variety of sport related publications. Reviewers have been overall satisfied with the price, comfort, functionality, and appearance of the compression garments.
Review: BSC Compression Pants (BMX Ultra). Review of Compression Gear (Run Ireland)
Offerings: BSc places in the mid to high levels on the innovation radar because their compression garments offer the newest technology. Their Warp knit fabric differs from their competitors and offers superior results.
Platform: BSc places high in the platform category on the innovation radar. The company started as a manufacturer and distributor of nutrition products and supplements and then moved into compression garments. BSc’s platform has remained the same by focusing on enhancing performance while upholding ethics and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. All of their products keep this notion at their core and contribute to consumers’ abilities to improve their performance.
Solutions: By offering the latest technology in compression garment fabrics, nutrition products, and designing products specific to men, women, youths, types of sports, and types of athletes, BSc allows consumers to customize their products to meet their needs. Whether they are looking to improve their endurance or decrease recovery time, consumers can find a fix of BSc products to help them achieve their goals. This places the company high on the radar.
Customers: BSc falls in the mid range of the innovation radar in the customer category. The company has provided products for elite athletes and sports teams, as well as recreational athletes, but has not tapped into a new market that their competitors do not.
Customer Experience: BSc falls into the mid to low range in this category. If addressing non-elite athletes, BSc offers a decent customer experience. The website provides detailed information in simplified language and images and is easy to navigate. BSc provides a toll free customer hotline and a list of retailers. However, the customer experience would be greatly improved if BSc provided storefronts where consumers could get expert advice about which products best meet their needs and how to combine compression garments and nutrition products to maximize their performance. If addressing elite athletes, BSc would gain a competitive edge if they had labs where athletes could come in and test their products and see the results.
Value Capture: While there is limited information released about the company, the given information indicates that BSc falls low on the radar in this category. There are not any indications of partnerships or innovative pricing systems.
Processes: Once again there is limited information regarding the processes of BSc. However, one can assume that BSc is in the mid to lower levels of the innovation radar. The company seems to have a similar amount of elite consumers and retailers, which indicates that they do not offer quicker production or more effective distribution.
Organization: BSc is on the higher end of the innovation radar in this category due to their corporate culture. Their company incorporates sports philosophies, such as teamwork, trust, and loyalty, in order to promote effectiveness.
Supply Chain: Given the limited supply chain information, BSc is located in the mid range of the radar. The company manufactures its products in Australia, which allows for lower distribution costs and higher quality control. However, it is unclear if they have a competitive advantage in this area.
Presence: BSc is in the mid range to low range in the category of presence. They do not offer storefronts and their retailers often carry their competitors products, as well.
Networking: Since BSc has not indicated any unique partnerships, the company falls on the low end of the innovation radar. BSc has not utilized any streams that their competitors have not.
Brand: BSc is located on the high end of the innovation radar in this category. The company has protected its intellectual property and consumers of one type of product can easily be introduced to their other products by simply identifying the logo. For example, if a consumer uses BSc nutrition products, they might see a BSc compression garment in a sporting good store. The consumer might be more inclined to buy that brand because he/she is already familiar with the brand and its quality.
Next: Specific Innovation