The second quarter of 2019 left a lot to be desired at Fitbit. When an industry is in growth mode, it’s rare that a zero-sum game (in which one player’s gain is the other’s equally matched loss) is the case. But in the world of wearables, it’s almost starting to look that way — at least as far as the battle between Fitbit and Apple is concerned.
According to tech researcher IDC, wearable devices (which include smartwatches, wristbands, and smart-assistant-enabled headphones) are expected to reach 279 million units shipped every year by 2023, up from an anticipated 199 million units shipped in 2019. Representing nearly 9% yearly average growth, that’s hardly peanuts and should be more than enough new business to go around.
Except it isn’t, not for Fitbit anyway… [Apple] has deep pockets and a well-developed ecosystem of gadgets, software, and related services that makes simple price undercutting not a valuable enough proposition to woo enough consumers over to the Fitbit cause — not enough to actually move the needle, anyway.
Once upon a time, I believed that at the very least, Fitbit could get a boost as a takeover candidate… But with government regulators getting increasingly skeptical of big tech, data practices, and merger-and-acquisition activity, I’m starting to doubt Fitbit’s value as takeover fodder — at least for the time being.
MacDailyNews Take: Too bad, as we’d like to see Apple scoop up Fitbit for the only thing they have of value – their siloed steps data and installed base – and free that steps data so Fitbit wearers can move up to Apple Watch and still share and compete in steps with their friends and family members.
Fitbit is the Palm of the twenty-tens. (And, BTW, we type that with Fitbits on our wrists. Apple should buy Fitbit just for the user base, merge Fitbit’s steps and other data into the Apple Watch, and be done with it. Then we could use our Apple Watches to compete with Fitbit-wearing friends and family who haven’t yet made the leap to Apple Watch and ditch these Fitbit Flex bracelets that we don’t want to wear, keep charged, etc. The only thing keeping Fitbit alive is their legacy user base and sequestering their step data.) — MacDailyNews, January 25, 2018