Lululemon Athletics, the mainstay for women’s yoga apparel is not only making a play for men’s segment but new research suggests that the company may also be exploring moving into adjacent business lines such as footwear and wearable gadgets in an effort to expand the brand’s offerings.
Lululemon’s foray into fitness streaming launched with the acquisition of Mirror last year. This was the athleisure company’s first acquisition to get involved in the future of fitness and a way to further tie into the lives of its customers.
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New patents released in the first half of this year show that the company is working on a wearable belt that can assist with biometrics monitoring and wellness.
Equipped with heart rate sensor, skin temperature sensor, a galvanic resistance sensor and other sensors, the wearable is designed to attach as a sensor mount into a piece of user’s clothing such as a bra, t-shirt, shorts and pants.
Unlike current activity trackers and smartwatches, the Lululemon biometrics gadget can be attached to different areas in the body. Users can clip it at the top of their shirts, or wear it as belt and also wear it on their chest.
The patent around this new wearable was filed on Oct’26,2020 and approved on March 25th 2021.
When it comes to positioning the new product to its existing customers, the company is carefully thinking about its customer’s preferences.
Unlike wearable smartwatches from Garmin that target the rugged athlete or the smartwatch from Fitbit that attracts a casual user looking for an overall fitness/wellness device, Lululemon is planning to explore a wellness metric designed to provide insights into the emotional state of a user and help manage stress.
The patent “Methods for Determining a Wellness Metric”, filed last October around the same time as the wearable sensor type device and approved on April 6th, 2021 provides clues around this novel strategy.
Lululemon plans on primarily shaping the Heart Rate Variability (HRV) metric to determine stress levels, recovery scores, and mood values.
Think of it as Whoop or Fitbit Sense for Lululemon customers.
In its definition of ‘Recovery’, Lululemon’s patent language uses the following:
“In various embodiments, analyzing the measured signal and the activity input to determine the stress value comprises scaling the measured value and the activity input to a state of recovery, a state of low stress, a state of medium stress, or a state of high stress. The state of recovery may be defined as the user having a heart rate greater than the resting heart rate of the user and under 30% of a heart rate reserve of the user, wherein the heart rate reserve is a difference between the resting heart rate of the user and a maximum heart rate of the user. “
The patent provides methods for measuring and determining a wellness metric for the user and then providing coaching or recommendations of possible activities and/or interventions for improving the wellness metric.
We are not sure when Lululemon plans on bringing this product and the associated platform to market. It would be worth pointing out that Peloton is also rumored to be releasing a new armband that will facilitate biometric monitoring.
Lululemon Footwear expected in early 2022
Another area where LuluLemon is positioning itself is in the area of footwear.
When you look up LULU, it is clear that some of its competitors in the athletic apparel space are players who have a long history of expertise in the footwear industry.
A few patents approved this month show that LuluLemon might be planning to enter the footwear space by launching its own brand of sports shoes.
Patents reveal how the company is thinking about dual-layered mid-sole design along with footwear comprising different stretch zones.
CEO, Calvin McDonald had already confirmed during a conference call late last year that Lululemon will be launching its own footwear and will be offering it to customers in early 2022.
Lululemon with its strengths lying at the intersection of fashion, fitness, and lifestyle — has appeared to reap the benefits of coronavirus-induced stay-at-home orders, which have led swaths of consumers to opt for comfort-driven and athletic options.
“Since the early days of the pandemic, our guests have been demanding a technical product that offers comfort and versatility as they spend more time working and sweating from home,” McDonald said in the call.
Customers will be looking to beat the post-pandemic stress by actively monitoring their stress levels and taking advantage of the outdoor lifestyle.
The company is also positioning the brand as a core wellness brand. In February 2021, the company established a global benchmark for wellbeing.
A combination of products that help users manage their stress and stay active outdoors will most likely position Lululemon into an area with some attractive margin economics.