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Fitbit Shares Surge on Healthy Downloads

By Quinten Plummer E-Commerce Times ECT News Network
Dec 30, 2015 7:00 AM PT

Fitbit shares earlier this week climbed several percentage points after the company's app topped the iOS charts over the Christmas holiday.

The Fitbit app was the top free app downloaded from Apple's App Store on Christmas Day. It was already the most downloaded app in the store's fitness and health category.

It wasn't just downloads that told the story of Fitbit's success this holiday season, however.

The Fitbit Charge was one of the three most popular products ordered via Amazon Prime's free same-day shipping service over the period, according to Amazon.

Fitbit's Charge

Fitbit, which went public earlier this year, sold more than 30 million connected health and fitness devices through its third quarter of 2015, the company said in a statement provided to the E-Commerce Times by spokesperson Ryan J. Bowling.

"We're really proud of the company performance to get to this point," Fitbit stated. "We significantly beat expectations in our first two quarters as a public company, and that performance is a testament to our execution and ongoing innovation."

The introduction of new services and features, deeper penetration of the market for corporate wellness, wider global distribution, and the contribution from its legacy wearable Fitbit Flex contributed to its Q3 success, the company said.

Throwing Back the Surge

Ahead of its IPO, Fitbit acknowledged the threat posed by products such as the Apple Watch in a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

For now, however, it has "superb brand recognition" and is in a unique position to continue its success, said Justin Hamel, CEO of MastaMinds.

Smartwatches still are working toward longer battery life, more fashion-forward forms and more smartphone independence.

Plus, smartbands are attractive to people who want a minimally invasive wearable while working out, Hamel told the E-Commerce Times.

However, "smartwatches are still something not yet mainstream," he added.

"I don't think it paints an accurate picture" of where the wearable device trend is headed, Hamel said. "I'm willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that in five years more users will have a smartwatch versus a Fitbit as we know it today."

Apple is the vendor best positioned to compel consumers to adopt smartwatches, noted Charles King, principal analyst for Pund-IT. It has the millions of loyal customers necessary to help any new product gain traction.

"So the fact that the Apple Watch has reportedly sold a small fraction of the units is both a disappointment and a harbinger of longer-term challenges," he told the E-Commerce Times.

Smartbands may be performing better because people want specialized devices rather "Swiss army knife" offerings, according to King.

"In any case," he said, "analysts who were predicting the death of the Fitbit just a few months ago are heading into the new year with egg on their faces."

Quinten Plummer is a longtime technology reporter and an avid PC gamer who explored local news for a few years, covering law enforcement and government beats, before returning to writing about things run by ones and zeros and the people who make them. If it pushes pixels or improves lives, he wants to learn all he can about it.

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