Fitbit faces a new reality and must dig deeper
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
19 January 2017
What would you like to see in the next generation Fitbit?
We’ll talk about the Fitbit. However, I’d like to take a moment to preface that with an anecdote about Croc’s.
Nope, I haven’t lost my mind. You see, the Fitbit and Crocs share a story with a similar theme. Crocs, while still around, nearly fell flat on its face a few years ago.
Back then, the rubber strapped shoes that were covered in holes were the focal points of the brand. (They began as a gardening shoe in Colorado.) These shoes, as they were made with rubber, could last for years. That was the problem. Who needed to buy new Crocs when the pair they had never wore out?
Slowly, the company recognized this issue. While the primary Crocs shoe remained, new, classier additions found their way into the market. (Including shoes you could even wear to the office.)
The company hasn’t folded yet despite hard times (as was expected at one point). The bottom line. Consumability and innovation helped.
“It needs to dig deeper into uncovering ways in which new devices reflect that positioning as more important than the first generation.”
The Fitbit faces a similar dilemma
We return to our primary topic. The Fitbit. Sure, the TV commercials sport a cool look. But here’s the thing, the fitness-focused wearable is the tech savvy version of Crocs. They are durable, which means one Fitbit lasts for a long while. (Unlike the share-stealing Garmin wearable that houses a battery that lasts just a year). Adding to this, the innovation behind Fitbit isn’t enough to compel users to move up with new versions.
“The big problem for Fitbit” writes the Motley Fool, is that “the market for wearables is growing slowly, which means that the company will need to convince its install base to upgrade in order to sustain its sales. IDC put the global wearable-device growth rate at just 3.1% during the third quarter. Unlike smartphones, wearables have yet to become a must-have gadget for the vast majority of consumers.”
Fitbit has positioned itself as the wearable to buy if you are concerned about your health. I also appreciate that the company offers several models of the wearable. Yet, this still isn’t enough, either as quarterly earnings are on the decline. Fitbit will soon need a next generation device.
The brand positioning is solid, but can go deeper. But it has found itself in a quagmire of a first-generation device that will keep users happy for so long the numbers on the bottom line will shrink. It needs to dig deeper into uncovering ways in which new devices reflect that positioning as more important than the first generation.
That takes hard work, and it means understanding your audience more than you do now. What do they dream of being? Who are they are now? What do they see the world? What are their belief systems?
Those are the hard questions Fitbit must ask.
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