This year has already seen the release of two new products by fitness wearable market leader Fitbit, the Alta and the Blaze, bringing their total wearable product offering to eight. If you’re one of the few people in Australia who still don’t know about Fitbit, or fitness wearables, then you need to check out this video and see what you’re missing, and maybe you should stand up and walk around while watching it:
Change is inevitable and Fitbit has capitalised on the change of consumer focus to health and fitness (literally), but really how many fitness trackers can they offer? Fitbit would have you believe that they are designed for different market segments, but really aren’t they all a bit ‘same same, but different?’
As is common in technology companies, Fitbit started their product development from the top down, with the company founders being inspired by the Nintendo Wii. However, the continual iterations of the same product that have been co-created in conjunction with customer feedback and outside developers, result in the variances between the products being slight, and ultimately resulting in quite a homogeneous range.
Currently in the case of the Alta and the Blaze (and the rest of the Fitbit range) prices are high in an effort to recoup costs before the competition gets fierce.
And whilst Fitbit have gone on record as saying the category is big enough for all players, surely they would have to be crazy to not at least be concerned about how easy it would be for Apple to step in and dominate this market with their brand following, distribution channels and mass production.
Fitbit may have the head-start in the category, having started in 2007, however some would suggest that the market has already reached maturity. With Fitbit commencing advertising at the end of 2014 due to competitors entering the category, and the additions to their product line in an effort to appeal to more segments, I would say that market is certainly mature. Just how long can Fitbit milk it before the decline?
Fitbit are trying to buck the decline through various methods:
Partnerships have been formed with large corporates, such as BP and Adobe, who want to encourage fitness in their employees, and there is talk of forming relationships with health insurers. Corporate Wellness, as it has been branded, is an attempt to sell FitBit’s current product range into a new market.
They have recently purchased FitStar in an effort to branch out into personal fitness coaching. This is a new product for the company in that it is not a wearable, however it is marketed at their current customers to work in tandem with their current FitBit.
Also, FitBit have formed an alliance with Tory Burch who produces accessories to wear with the fitness bands.
The launch of a global campaign at the end of 2014 via television, print and social media was an effort to sell more of their product to the same market.
When pressed on the future of Fitbit, CEO James Park, will only comment that it may not necessarily be in wearables; obviously diversification is on the horizon.
If you think they can pull it off, then now is the time to buy their shares!
Written by Connie Sirmans