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Fitbit Emerges as Next Best Wearable Player after Apple, Say Industry Experts

Fitbit's market share in India significantly increased from 9 per cent in 2017 to 14 per cent in 2018

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fitbit, health
Fitbit watches have sensors that get information from air temperature and humidity, but also from the physiological response of the individual in that environment. Pixabay

The pricey Apple Watch may have led the global smartwatch shipments in the first quarter of 2019, but it is the San Francisco-headquartered activity trackers and wearables maker Fitbit which has emerged as the next best player after Apple, industry experts suggest.

The top nine brands contribute to 75 per cent of the market shipment and Samsung, Fitbit and Huawei grew exponentially in the first quarter, said the ‘Global Smartwatch Tracker’ report by Counterpoint. Fitbit’s market share in India significantly increased from 9 per cent in 2017 to 14 per cent in 2018.

“Fitbit continues to shift its focus from predominantly smartband/trackers to smartwatches and has now evolved as the next best player after Apple in terms of experience and scale. The launch of the Versa smartwatch was the turning point for its smartwatch segment growth,” Satyajit Sinha, Research Analyst, IoT and Mobility, Counterpoint Research, told IANS.

“The health/fitness factor is playing a key role in driving consumer decision making for the adoption of smartwatches and Fitbit has entirely focused on this core use case,” Sinha added. The wearable maker’s share in smartwatch shipments grew in 2018, owing to the huge success of its “Versa” smartwatch which was released in April last year.

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“The health/fitness factor is playing a key role in driving consumer decision making for the adoption of smartwatches and Fitbit has entirely focused on this core use case,” Sinha added. Pixabay

Fitbit’s smartband shipment grew 7 per cent (year-on-year) in 2018, however, its share in the smartband segment declined from 10 per cent in 2017 to 8 per cent in 2018 owing to lack of products in the low-end price band.

To meet the needs of the budget-conscious Indian buyers, Fitbit is now mulling to expand its offerings, particularly for those who are just embarking on their fitness journey.

“Apart from the ‘Inspire’ family, with ‘Versa Lite’, the brand wants to reach out to the first-time smartwatch owners looking for a device that is attractive and intuitive. One that can match their personal style with vibrant and bold colour options and unique accessories,” Alok Shankar, Country General Manager, Fitbit India, told IANS.

The company is also aiming to add more users to its wearables category. “Growing our community of active users is a critical part of our strategy and we aim to achieve it by introducing wearables and smartwatches at great value — not just in terms of price, but also with core functionality and advanced features such as sleep tracking, swim-proof designs and smartphone notifications,” Shankar noted.

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Fitbit’s market share in India significantly increased from 9 per cent in 2017 to 14 per cent in 2018. Pixabay

According to Counterpoint, consumers have still not warmed up to the idea of adding additional devices that need to be charged periodically for the same features that are present in advanced smartbands, which typically last more than a smartwatch.

ALSO READ: Apple Watch Leads the Global Smartwatch Shipments : Report

“In the smartwatch segment, Fitbit’s major competitors are Apple, Samsung and Amazfit. In the smartband segment, Xiaomi, Titan and GOQii are the major competitors,” said Sinha.

However, with the new line-up, Fitbit says it has strengthened its portfolio. “India has always been a value-conscious market, but consumers have always been willing to invest in good-quality products,” Shankar added. (IANS)

Next Story

Google Having Access to Fitbit’s Data a Privacy Risk: EDPB

Google accessing Fitbit data major privacy risk: EU advisors

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Google
EDPB was warned the European Commission of the potential privacy risks of Google having access to Fitbit's data. Pixabay

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) was warned the European Commission of the potential privacy risks of Google having access to Fitbit’s data.

This comes in the wake of the tech giant’s plan to scoop up the health and activity data of millions of Fitbit users, months after its parent company Alphabet acquired it.

Regulators are in the process of considering whether to allow the tech giant to gobble up all this data, TechCrunch reported on Thursday.

In a statement, the board writes: “There are concerns that the possible further combination and accumulation of sensitive personal data regarding people in Europe by a major tech company could entail a high level of risk to the fundamental rights to privacy and to the protection of personal data.”

Google
Regulators are in the process of considering whether to allow Google to gobble up all this data, TechCrunch reported on Thursday. Pixabay

It is pertinent to note that, as it stands today, Google is still waiting on regulatory approval for its Fitbit acquisition.

In the EU, how privacy is handled will have a huge impact on whether or not the deal goes through.

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The EDPB also leaves a reminder that Google and Fitbit are obligated to conduct a transparent assessment of “the data protection requirements and privacy implications” regarding this merger. The US Justice Department has also raised concerns, according to 9to5Google.

Aplphabet-Google acquired Fitbit as a whole for $2.1 billion late last year, a deal that includes the user data of Fitbit customers including activity, sleep, location, and other health data. (IANS)