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Strategic and complete business analysis of Fitbit Inc.

Isabelle Taylor | 24 Mar,2021

Introduction to Fitbit Inc.

Fitbit Inc. is an American consumer electronics company that was founded in 2007 in San Francisco, California. The key products offered by this company include smartwatches, activity trackers, and other wearable devices that help its users to measure their fitness through features such as heart rate, number of steps walked, and quality of sleep. Further, the key aim of the products being offered by Fitbit Inc. is to improve the physical activities and health outcomes of individuals by offering them a modern and healthy lifestyle. Also, the Fitbit products are either wearable on the wrist or tied onto the clothes or accessories depending on the features of the products. Further, the products of Fitbit range from $ 60 to $ 250, and in 2016, the company launched the Fitbit blaze which is an exercise tracking smart fitness watch (Fast Company, 2021). Moreover, this company was acquired by Google on January 14, 2021, for $ 2.1 billion after getting regulatory approval in the US and Europe. Further, the current revenue of this company is pegged around USD 1.42 billion with an employee base of 1700 employees. The major competitors of Fitbit Inc. include LG Electronics, Xiaomi, Apple, Jawbone health, etc. (Craft. co, 2021). This assessment aims to evaluate the overall market and financial performance of Fitbit Inc. and to provide some recommendations to the company to further improve its competitive position in the market.

Fitbit history

The history of Fitbit is an inspiring tale of a vision turning into a pleasant reality. The Fitbit Company is an American digital health and fitness brand company that was incorporated in 2007 by James Park and Eric Friedman (Crunchbase, 2021). The headquarters of this company is in San Francisco, California. The company is known for developing sensor-based wireless products and services such as tracking devices, watches, headphones, etc. The major brands of the Fitbit include one, flex 2, zip, blaze, charge 2, surge, etc. Further, the company has a strong market image and global presence over the period of time due to uniqueness in its products and services. Further, in 2015, Fitbit Inc. got public and the company also announced its initial public offer on the NYSE. This initial public offer of the company was filed for $ 358 million. Also, in 2016, the company transformed from a consumer electronics company to a digital healthcare company. The main reason behind such transformation was the use of wireless sensors and technology in its products and the provision of digital health tracking systems in consumer products and services. Along with this, the company also announced its intention of partnering with Adidas in 2018 to launch the Adidas branded Fitbit ionic. Furthermore, now, in 2021, the company has been acquired by Google for $2.1 billion.

Wearable technology market

Since Fitbit operates in the wearable technology market, it is a must to review the growth of the wearable technology market.

The global wearable technology market is growing at a faster pace due to the rising use of IoT devices. Further, the global wearable technology market was valued at USD 32.63 billion in 2019 which is expected to increase at the CAGR rate of 15.9 % by the end of 2027. Along with this, there is a rising demand for IoT-based products and services which further is expected to derive the growth of the wearable technology market. In addition to this, wearable products such as Fitness devices can help to assess the health status of individuals which may include information on the oxygen level, calorie intake, steps walked, quality of sleep, cholesterol level, heartbeat rate, blood pressure, etc. In addition to this, there is rising health concern among individuals which further is likely to influence the demand for health products and fitness items. Along with this, the outbreak of COVID-19 has further influenced the demand for wearable technology in the healthcare sector as the use of these devices can provide a prompt warning on the indicators of infection. Moreover, rising disposable income, the increasing popularity of these devices, the availability of smart devices in the market, and various other factors are also likely to influence the growth of the wearable technology market (Grandview, 2020). In fact, the latest trends pertaining to the wearable technology market show promising prospects of growth. Furthermore, the revenue in the wearables market is expected to reach USD 17.834 billion by the end of 2021 and the larger proportion of its revenue will come from the Chinese market (Statista, 2021).

Fitbit financial performance analysis

The mission of the Fitbit Company is to ensure that people around the world get healthier by regularly tracking and improving their health performance.  As cited by Business Wire, Fitbit Inc. earned revenue of $ 188 million in 2020. The following tabular representation shows the balance sheet of this company.

Fitbit Balance Sheet

Thus, it is found that the total asset base of the company had declined from $1,515,547 thousand to $1,368,086 thousand in 2019 due to a decline in its cash and cash equivalents balance. Further, the comparison of Fitbit’s operating performance in 2019 and 2020 is shown as follows-

Fitbit’s Statement of Operations

From the above figure, it is seen that the net income of the company has declined over the period of time due to declining Gross profit and rising operational expenses. The net operating income of the company was $(3,20,711) thousand in 2019. Further, the overall financial performance of this company was not much strong in 2020 as well as the cash flow from operations of the company in 2020 accounted for $(80) million. Further, the following figure shows the operating efficiency, profitability, and liquidity performance of Fitbit Inc.

Financial performance of Fitbit

Thus, it is found that Fitbit Inc. is dealing with shortcomings in all the financial areas and the company is required to take various stringent measures to improve its operating and financial performance (Hudson, 2021). Thus, in the subsequent sections of the report, the marketing and business strategies of this company are evaluated and various recommendations to this company are provided.

Fitbit external analysis

Fitbit PESTLE analysis

PESTLE analysis is an important external market analysis tool that can help to analyze the external market factors impacting the operations of the company.

PESTLE analysisDetail
Political factorsThe political condition for the wearable fitness industry is relatively stable as the government always has a positive attitude in regard to health products and services. However, it is necessary to review the impact of the US-China war and Brexit which are the main political factors that can negatively impact the sales and demand of fitness products in the Chinese market. Further, Brexit is likely to impact the overall profitability of the businesses operating in the wearable technology market as Brexit has increased customer documentation and VAT requirements which may impact the import and export of various products. However, the UK and the US also have agreed to mutually recognize other nations for conformity assessment. Further, the US-China war has negatively impacted the export of various products and services from the US. Also, China has imposed retaliatory tariffs on various products and services which further has declined the export of fitness products from the US (ClubIndustry, 2020).
Economic factorsThe demand for Fitbit products is very high in the current times due to rising purchasing power and spending on the health care sector by the consumers (Bea.gov, 2021). However, the outbreak of COVID-19 had negatively impacted the economic position of countries at a global level. Further, the global GDP in 2021 is projected at 5. 4 % which is 6.5% lower than the pre-covid projections. Thus, the global impact of COVID-19 is likely to impact the overall sales and profits of Fitbit Inc.
Social factorsThe spread of COVID-19 at a global level and rising health consciousness among customers has resulted in a rise in the demand of wearable technology products. The use of Fitbit products helps customers to track their health status which further influences the purchase intention of customers.
Technological factorsThe global wireless technology market is growing at a faster pace due to the increasing demand for IoT-based products. Fitbit Inc. also uses the 3Axis accelerometer which helps customers to track the acceleration forces such as the number of steps walked, calories burned, floors climbed, etc. However, the company may face some privacy concerns due to the presence of user-specific data in Fitbit devices (Tung, 2021). Thus, Fitbit Inc. must adopt various initiatives at a global level to ensure compliance with the privacy legislation at a global level.
Legal factorsFitbit Inc. is required to comply with various data protection laws and regulations on a global scale. Further, the company is required to ensure compliance with the consumer privacy act, Data Protection Act 2018, Personal Information Protection Law, etc. to maintain its brand image. Further, the company is required to take various measures to ensure IP protection.
Environmental factorsSustainability has become the key factor for the success of the organization. As a result of this, Fitbit Inc. is focusing on three main areas i.e. rethinking consumption, lower impact production, and value chain responsibility. The company ensures that single-use plastic is not used in its operations and recyclability practices are implemented at a large scale. Further, the company is also working with suppliers that ensure compliance with fair labor and sustainable practices (Fitbit, 2021).

Fitbit Porter five forces analysis

The porter five force analysis is a competitive analysis tool that is used as follows to evaluate the competitive position of Fitbit Inc.

Porter five force analysisLevelDetail
The threat of new entrantsModerateThe threat of new entrants in this industry is moderate as the new entrants can come up with advanced technologies, low-cost strategies, and a strong value proposition. However, the economies of scale, capital investment, product differentiation, strong distribution channels, and market reputation of Fitbit Inc. help the company to reduce the threat of new entrants in the market.
Bargaining power of suppliersLowThe threat of bargaining power of suppliers is low for Fitbit as the company has maintained supply chain contracts with a large number of suppliers and can easily switch between its suppliers due to the easy availability of technological products and services.
Threat of substitutesModerateThe smartphones are integrating the technological features of Fitbit watches and products. Also, smartwatches are becoming more dominant in the wearable technology market which may further lead to an increased threat of substitutes in the market.
Bargaining power of buyersHighThe bargaining power of suppliers in the wearable Technology Sector is high as there are a large number of alternatives available to customers in regard to Fitbit products and the low switching cost of fitness products further increases the bargaining power of customers. Thus, Fitbit Inc. must focus on driving innovation in its product to attract and retain a large number of customers in the wearable technology industry.
Rivalry among existing competitorsModerateThere are a large number of firms offering smartwatches and fitness products to their customers. Also, Fitbit operates in a highly competitive market and the major competitors of this company include LG Electronics, Xiaomi, Apple, Jawbone health, etc. (Craft. co, 2021). However, the company has implemented differentiation strategies in the market which help the company to maintain a strong market position and competitive advantage in the industry.

Fitbit business strategy analysis

Fitbit is recognized as the premium brand in the wearable technology industry due to its differentiation strategy and the unique product being offered to the customers. Further, by 2015, Fitbit had introduced 7 products in the market to serve the diverse needs of the customers. The Fitbit Flex is aimed at meeting the simple needs of the customer and the high-end model aims to comply with the complex needs of the customers. Furthermore, the business model canvas of Fitbit is shown as follows-

Fitbit business canvas model

Key partnersKey activitiesValue propositionsCustomer relationshipsCustomer segments

Electronic manufacturing companies

Application developers

Rubber forming factories of china

Suppliers such as Semitech Technology Ltd, Shenzhen

Tschick Technology, etc.

Retailers such as Coolblue, amazon, WESTech, 21run, Prisma, etc.

Application developers

Shipping firms

Assembling of components such as rubber bands, detectors, etc.

transportation

Production Marketing

Research and development

Assembling of components such as rubber bands, detectors, etc.

Health tracking functions

Convenience

Uniqueness

Low-cost strategy

Personal assistance

Promotion of physical activities such as exercise among customers.

After-sale services

Niche market (involving health-conscious customers)

Key resourcesChannels

Wristband

Monitors

Human resources

Intellectual resources

Supply chain relations

Customer service platforms

Primary market

Online/ e-commerce

In-store

Customer service centers (after-sale service)

Cost structureRevenue streams

Research and development

Assembling cost

Marketing cost

Technological expenditure and innovation

HR cost

Watches

Accessories

Fitbit bands, etc

Sale of Fitbit products to retailers such as Harmon, HH Gregg, Future Shop, Sports check, Epos, Smarty, WESTech, Amazon, etc.

Fitbit key interrelationship among nine activities of business model canvas

All the blocks of the business model canvas are directly linked to each other. To substantiate, assembling, marketing, production, and transportation have been identified as the main activities of this company. Further, the effectiveness of key activities of the company depends on its relations with key partners which include suppliers, retailers, developers, manufacturing companies, rubber forming factories, etc. Strong and effective relations with suppliers and manufacturing companies also help Fitbit Inc. to meet the needs of different customers (Customer segments) and deliver a value proposition in the form of uniqueness and higher functionality in its products. Also, the unique products and services of the company help the company to attract a large number of customers. Furthermore, higher value proposition and sale of products over different channels such as stores, online stores, etc. also help the company to develop strong customer relations. Moreover, the cost structure of the company depends on its resource base and key activities.

Fitbit marketing analysis

The marketing plan of the company can help to evaluate the marketing strategy of the company and determine the target market of the company. The main aims of the marketing strategies of the company are listed as follows-

  • To drive brand awareness
  • To increase subscription revenue
  • To attract a large number of customers.

The company uses diverse marketing strategies to attain its marketing goals and reputation. Furthermore, the company also started diverse marketing campaigns such as FitForFood, etc. to influence the purchase decision of a large number of customers.

Fitbit Marketing mix- 4Ps framework

Product

The product strategy of Fitbit is very effective and aims at meeting the needs of diverse customers keeping in view their happiness. Also, the Fitbit products lifecycle is in its growth phase as the revenue of the company is rising over time. Along with this, the company is highly positioned for offering high-quality products and services to customers. Also, the key products of the company include smartwatches, activity trackers, and other wearable devices. The main wristbands of the company are Fitbit surge, Fitbit Flex, Fitbit Charge HR, Fitbit, etc. along with this, the use of the Fitbit bands helps the users to track six different functions i.e. heart rate, sleep quality, active minutes, calories, counting steps and distance traveled (Statista, 2021).

Price

Fitbit has implemented the use of an odd-even pricing strategy to attract a large number of customers. Also, the odd-even pricing strategy helps Fitbit to raise the perception of affordability among customers. For instance, the list price of the Fitbit Versa 3 is $ 228.98 and the list price of the Fitbit Sense advanced smartwatch of the company is $329.95 which is offered for sale at $299.95 on Amazon. Thus, the company also adopts a discounting strategy to attract a large number of customers. Along with this, the company also has adopted market-based pricing strategies where the prices of the products are charged subject to various market factors and competitive prices. For instance, the Fitbit Inspire fitness tracker is sold at a price of $ 79.99 which is in line with the price of Amazfit GTS 2 Mini which also is sold at a price of $ 79.99.

Place

Fitbit Inc. has implemented extensive distribution strategies by focusing on dual distribution strategies i.e. direct and indirect. The following figure shows the direct and indirect distribution strategies of the company-

Distribution strategy of Fitbit

The above figure shows that Fitbit Inc. sells directly as well as indirectly to its customers. Also, the Fitbit products are sold in around 50 countries through over 50000 stores.

Promotion

Fitbit Inc. has integrated marketing strategies where the company promotes its products and services through diverse strategies such as advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, social media marketing, etc. Further, the first advertising campaign of the company was promoted through various media platforms with the main focus on video advertising. The company also has established a strong social media presence in the market and uses diverse hashtags such as #giftfromfitbit, TeamFitbit, #ad, etc. to promote brand awareness and customer interest. Online retailing is a key promotional activity of the company which helps to attract a number of customers as websites such as Amazon, Flipkart, etc. offer the opportunity of posting their reviews regarding various products. Furthermore, Amazon also sells the Fitbit Sense advanced smartwatch at $289.99 despite its real price being $329.95. Thus, the discounting strategies and coupons on online sales channels also help to attract a number of customers. Along with this, the company also has implemented sales promotion initiatives to influence the purchase decisions of various customers. The sales promotion initiatives of the company in 2021 include offering Fitbit Versa 3 for a price less than $230 with free shipping, free shipping on orders above $ 50, Fitbit premium at 30 % off, etc. Moreover, the FitForFood campaign of the company is aimed at helping its users burn their calories in exchange for donating food to Feeding America which is a hunger relief organization in America (Hum, 2020). Moreover, Fitbit Inc. also uses social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. with the aim to resolve various customer issues and to provide a support service experience. Along with this, the other promotional activities of Fitbit include a podcast, print advertising, TV advertising, etc. The Fitbit podcast “Focus on customer service” also highlighted that the company also utilizes the advantages of social media to provide supportive services and to resolve customer problems.

Customer segmentation, targeting, and positioning of Fitbit (STP)

Segmentation

Customer segmentation is an important process that can help to evaluate the target audience of the company. The following table shows the customer segments of Fitbit-

Type of segmentationSegmentation criteriaCustomer segments
GeographicRegion100 + countries and regions globally
 DensityRural and urban
DemographicAge18-44
 GenderBoth male and female
 Life-cycle stagesBachelor, newly married couples, adults, old age people
 OccupationStudents, employees, and business professionals
PsychographicSocial classLow, middle, and upper class
 Lifestyle factorsStrugglers, aspirer, and explorer
BehaviouralLoyaltyHard and softcore loyal
 BenefitsCost attractiveness and differentiated fitness products
 PersonalityAmbitious, health-conscious, and easy going
 User statusNonuser, potential user, regular users, and first users
Targeting

Fitbit Inc. targets diverse customers by offering a wide and diversified spectrum of products and services. The major customers of this company include health-conscious and determined customers willing to reduce their weight and improve their health outcomes through regular exercising and other physical activities. The customers of the company mainly comprise people belonging to 18 to 44 years of age. Also, the company targets students, employees, and business professionals by offering diversity in products and services.

Positioning

Fitbit Inc. is positioned as a premium brand offering high-quality products and services to buyers. Further, the company is known for offering differentiated, unique, and the best products to its customers.

Pricing strategy

As stated above, Fitbit Inc. has adopted odd-even and competitive pricing strategies for its products and services. The odd-even pricing strategy aims to influence the purchase decision of customers. For instance, the retail price of Fitbit Versa is $159.95, the list price of Fitbit charge 2 is $157.99, etc. The competitive pricing strategy aims to maintain the competitive position of this company in the market. For instance, both the Fitbit Inspire fitness tracker and Amazfit GTS 2 Mini are sold at a price of $ 79.99.

Fitbit Consumer analysis

Fitbit offers a large variety of products to customers at different prices which helps to appeal to every group of customers. The Fitbit devices help customers to monitor their health status and maintain their health. Further, (Chong et al., 2020) provided that individuals in the current times are becoming more health-conscious and thus, are preferring the use of wearable technology devices such as Apple watches, Fitbit, etc. Furthermore, the author provided that the Fitbit devices help customers to track their sleep patterns and strive for a healthier lifestyle (Florinailie, 2021). The consumer analysis further showed that the customers tend to use Fitbit products due to the functionality associated with them. Further, consumer decision-making provides that the customer tends to buy Fitbit items to track and monitor health-related factors. Also, the target market of the company includes customers belonging to 18 to 44 years of age willing to improve their health status by regularly tracking the distance traveled, calories burned, sleep quality, steps tracker, etc. further, the behavioral characteristics of its customers include interest in regular health monitoring and tracking. Moreover, the psychographic factors show that its customers have a healthy lifestyle who aim to remain active by engaging in various physical activities.

Competitor positioning map

Fitbit is a wearable technology company that offers devices with tracking systems that help its customers to track their health status. Fitbit Inc. has been positioned as a premium and differentiated brand offering unique fitness products i.e. smartwatches to its customers. The competitive positioning map of Fitbit is shown as follows-

Competitive positioning of Fitbit

The above perceptual map shows that Apple Inc. offers products with higher functionality. However, it is reviewed that Apple Inc. has adopted a premium pricing strategy where the company charges exorbitant prices for its smartwatches. In contrast to this, Fitbit offers higher functionality at comparatively lower prices to its customers. Further, the higher functionality in its products helps the company to maintain a strong competitive position in the market. Further, Nike, Xiaomi, and Samsung have been found to offer very low functionality in their smartwatches. Thus, the marketing strategies of Fitbit have been found to be effective enough to attract a large number of customers. However, the revenue of Fitbit Inc. is $ 1.434 billion, the revenue of Samsung is $200 billion, the revenue of Apple Inc. is 274.515 billion and the revenue of Nike is $37.4 billion. Thus, the revenue of Fitbit Inc. is the lowest among its competitor firms which implies that the company is required to implement various strategies to improve its competitive position. Further, the company must broaden its product line to further expand its market base and to improve its competitive position in the market.

Fitbit’s Social media marketing analysis

Fitbit Inc. places a huge focus on social media marketing strategies with the aim to attract a large number of customers and to keep the customer engaged in the marketing initiatives. Further, the Fitbit tracker directly uploads the user achievement on the social media platforms which also helps to influence the purchase decision of a large number of customers. Along with this, the users also know that their progress will be uploaded on social media sites which is a key factor that motivates them to work hard and achieve their fitness goals. Moreover, the social media strategy of the company helps to develop positive word-of-mouth marketing. This is the case because posting achievement-oriented results on Facebook, etc. makes customers feel proud of their progress which also inclines them towards spreading positive reviews for the company.

This is the case because posting achievement-oriented results on Facebook, etc. makes customers feel proud of their progress which also inclines them towards spreading positive reviews for the company.

The company also regularly organizes challenges relating to fitness to motivate fitness among customers and to influence the users to invite their friends (Hum, 2020). Moreover, the Facebook page of Fitbit further helps to attract a large number of customers. Also, the company offers various discount offers to customers over the social media platforms

Facebook home page of Fitbit

Fitbit SWOT analysis

The SWOT analysis is another important strategic analysis tool that helps to evaluate the internal and external market conditions of the company. The SWOT analysis of Fitbit is shown as follows-

Fitbit StrengthsFitbit Weaknesses
  • Strong brand name and reputation in the wearable technology market
  • Strong market share and solid user base
  • Differentiation and unique products
  • Integrated marketing strategies
  • Acquisition of the company by Google helped the company to further improve its brand equity
  • Strong functionality of the products
  • Workout apps help to attract a large group of customers
  • Odd-even pricing policy
  • Strong customer relations
  • All products are not waterproof
  • Strong competitive pressures
  • Single product line i.e. fitness tracking wearable devices whereas companies like Apple offer diverse products such as computers, phones, etc.
Opportunities for FitbitThreats for Fitbit
  • Diversifying the product line
  • Expanding into the monitoring of other health data such as nutrition intake, weight, etc.
  • Developing strong coaching platforms
  • The threat of new entrants
  • Technological advancement and innovation due to fast-changing technology
  • Privacy concerns and issues
  • Change in regulations
  • Threat of substitutes
  • Stiff competition

Thus, it is found that Fitbit is one of the well-known fitness and digital health product brands that have established a strong market position due to its differentiated and competitive pricing strategies. However, it is found that the competitive pressures are likely to negatively impact the market position of this company. Thus, it is provided that the company should expand its product portfolio by adding some other product lines such as computers, phones, etc. in its assembling and shipping options. However, frequent changes in market conditions such as changes in regulations, technological advancement, etc. are likely to further impact the overall profitability of the company.

Fitbit future- wearables future

The market for wearable devices is growing at a faster pace as the use of sensors helps to transform the input data into actionable health data which further helps to improve the overall health status of individuals. The use of wearable devices such as the Fitbit smartwatches helps in personal monitoring, scheduling of health activities, and improving health outcomes. However, the future of Fitbit is not limited to smartwatches and fitness tracking as technological advancement will help to implement the use of waterproof UV sensors, smart glasses, etc. (Marr, 2021). Furthermore, the Fitbit Company is acquired by Google in current times which further will help the company to effectively compete with various other brands such as Apple, Nike, etc. Furthermore, the Fitbit bands currently have a lower battery life which further will be improved through energy harvesting where the Fitbit smartwatches will convert the body heat and solar energy into power. Moreover, various health products such as artificial pancreas will also be created that will help to monitor the blood sugar level and automatically supply insulin (GCFGlobal, 2021). Along with this, the company will also come up with additional functionalities in its products such as nutrition intake, blood sugar level, etc.

Recommendations to Fitbit

Based on the above analysis, it is found that Fitbit Inc. is required to take various progressive measures to improve its competitive position in the market. Further, it is found that the future of wearable technology is bright and the company is required to provide high-quality products and services to customers to maintain its brand image. Thus, some of the recommendations for the company are provided as follows-

  • Fitbit must offer added diverse functionality in its products to maintain its competitive position in the market. Along with this, some health coaching programs can also be organized by the company to attract a large number of health-conscious customers.
  • Fitbit should also continuously engage in technological innovation to raise its brand image and to deal with the market uncertainties. It is identified that the new firms may come up with advanced technologies which may impact the market image and reputation of the company. Hence, the company is suggested to regularly conduct market research and implement new technologies in its products and services to maintain a strong market image. Along with this, technological advancement will also help the company to compete efficiently with various other firms in the market in this era of rapid globalization.
  • Fitbit should also launch highly advanced health products such as advanced pancreas to meet its mission of improving the health outcomes of individuals and to help customers deal with their health issues.
  • Fitbit should also implement the use of energy harvesting systems to raise environmental sustainability by reducing energy consumption and improving the battery life of its devices.
  • The company should enter in partnership with various healthcare providers to engage in market research and to identify the information that needs health tracking.
  • The company must diversify its product line by adding wireless earphones, computers, smartphones, etc. to target the wider target market and to improve its market share. The launch of new products such as Fitbit earphones will also help to target music lovers and Spotify users which will further help to improve the brand image of the company. Further, the company must also take measures to differentiate its products from its competitors to enhance the customer service experience.

References

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Further readings