Fitbit Shares Down 70% Since IPO as Wearables Market Shifts from Fitness to Healthcare



eMarketer, June 2016:

Ericsson ConsumerLab polled wearable device owners from Brazil, China, South Korea, the UK and the US who had stopped using their wearable—which was about one in 10 wearable users… Still, eMarketer forecasts that usage is growing in the US, and will continue to in the next couple of years.

Juniper Research, January 2017:

A new study from Juniper Research has found that a gradual change in direction for fitness wearables towards healthcare devices will lead to over 75 million Americans using dedicated activity trackers by 2021, over double the current user base.

The new research, Health & Fitness Wearables: Business Models, Forecasts & Vendor Share 2017-2021, has found that this shift in focus will alter consumers’ perception of wearable trackers, making them seem more necessary. Vendors like Fitbit, Withings and Misfit are leading this change, making integration with medical databases a priority and focusing on encouraging users to lead ‘healthier’ lives, rather than getting ‘fitter’.

This will move the wearables battleground from consumer hardware to institutional partnerships and software integration; players who are able to make their devices and systems part of healthcare practices will reap the largest rewards.

Peter Cohan, Forbes, January 31, 2017:

Today Fitbit’s shares are trading at a whopping 70% below their IPO price of $20 — presenting what could be viewed as a chance to invest in the company at a more attractive price than what I would have paid had I been important enough to be able to buy shares before its IPO. Of course, the downward journey of its stock could also be viewed as the market’s conclusion that there is not likely to be a fresh wind blowing into Fitbit’s sails.

What has propelled its shares downward is a nasty financial report coupled with a scary 2017 outlook. On January 30, Fitbit said that revenue in the last three months of 2016 fell 20% after a near-doubling of sales in the same quarter of 2015…

Fitbit’s renewed growth depends on its ability to launch new products that are so much better than the competition that its customers will go out in droves to replace their current models with the new ones and pay higher prices along the way.