A few years ago, the fitness industry was lit ablaze with love for technology that promised a quantified future: our exact calories burned, the steps we walked in a day, graphs of our heartbeats as we took a jog, workout tracking, even sleep tracking.
While hundreds of products that do the above remain, there's been a clear contraction in the fitness tech industry. While industry leaders Garmin, Fitbit, Polar, and Apple continue to sell devices, news and interest in iterations on the tech have cooled.
In the case of Fitbit ($NYSE:FIT), it appears use of the device - at least via Facebook - has cooled as well. While new Fitbit Versa lifetsyle-focused smartwatch sales are tracking and selling decently at electronics retailer BestBuy, sales for more fitness-focused devices appear to be plateauing, Apple's sports-focused Watch products included.
Has the world's love for fitness trackers cooled off? Or have those who wanted in already bought their devices? Do people simply want smartwatches that are also suited for fitness applications? See the data below to find out.
Fitbit Active Users on Facebook
It used to be that you'd log into your Fitbit app via Facebook, go for a run, and automatically upload your workout to your timeline to show friends and family that you were keeping healthy. According to our data that tracks Facebook login ranks for apps, it looks like Fitbit app usage is on a downturn after a somewhat minor New Years resolutio uptick in January, 2018.
The Alta, released in March 2016, was marketed as an all-around wellbeing device that tracked heart health and sleep rather than a focus on all-out fitness. It sold decently, after an initial uptick, has seen a steady decline in BestBuy sales ranks.
The Charge 2, released in August, 2016, was one of Fitbit's most successful product with a return to pure fitness-focus. Released at the apex of interest in quantified fitness-tracking tech, the Carge 2 scaled BestBuy sales ranks quickly, peaking in the top-50 products sold at BestBuy in the holiday season of 2016.
The Versa, released in Febuary 2018, is seeing a rise in sales ranks, but not to the degree that the company saw with its Charge 2. It's aimed straight at the Apple Watch, described more as an "all-day health and fitness companion that helps you live your best life." Want to go running? It's got you tracked. Swimming? It's waterproof - dive in. It's also cheaper than the Apple Watch. But will it continue to sell?
It wouldn't be fair to only look at Fitbit sales ranks at BestBuy. With some context from Apple Watch sales, we see clear and sustained interest in the standard Apple Watch Series 3 - an "all-day health and fitness" watch that has a more generalized approach. The Apple Watch Nike+ Series 3, however, hasn't sold nearly as well as the Versa.
It's possible - and consistent with the data - the consumers continue to show interest in fitness-tracking technology, but they prefer it in more lifetstyle-general designs. As fitness-focused smartwatches appear to be lagging in sales, general-purpose smartwatches that can also serve as companions in the gym or pool continue to be popular choices.