Fitbit leads in fitness tracker popularity, but Apple Watch poised to gain ground

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited May 2015
Fitbit devices remain both the most used and most wanted fitness trackers, but Apple is in a position to make gains with the Apple Watch, especially as a huge number of consumers plan to buy a wearable device in the near future, according to a U.S. consumer survey published on Friday.




The survey was conducted by investment firm Robert W. Baird & Co., which polled 5,000 people in May. 8.4 percent of people said they owned a Fitbit product, while 3.6 percent said they had something from Garmin, and 2.4 percent owned a Jawbone. Only approximately 20 percent of people said they had any kind of fitness tracker.

Almost a quarter people said they intended to buy a fitness band though, a jump from 14 percent in Baird's December figures. In May 10.6 percent of people said they intended to buy a Fitbit, while 5.9 percent claimed they wanted an Apple Watch. For Jawbone and Garmin devices, respective numbers were 3.6 and 3.1 percent.

Measured purchase intent shifted when only examining people who already owned a tracker. 16.5 percent said they wanted a Fitbit -- 13 percent chose the Apple Watch, 9.8 percent picked Garmin, and 7.1 percent said they were looking at a Jawbone.

The Apple Watch, launched just last month, is not strictly a fitness tracker. It can only record motion and heart rate, whereas dedicated trackers can sometimes monitor data like sleep patterns, perspiration, and/or GPS location. The Watch can make use of GPS data, but only by pulling it from a nearby iPhone.

Some Watch owners are complaining that this week's v1.0.1 update has broken heart rate tracking, making it sporadic outside of Workout mode. Users may have to force a reading by checking the heart rate Glance.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    I have a hard time using Fitbit because they lock your data to their apps. Why can't I natively and automatically export to healthkit? Their app has horrid data visuals as well.
  • Reply 2 of 21
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,399member

    Fitbit's not going anywhere anytime soon. There's a massive fitness push in my company right now, and everyone is on a Fitbit craze. For $100, people have all they need to track fitness. Everyone I know has a Fitbit at work, and I've yet to see one ?Watch, or overhear anybody talking about them -- and almost all of them use an iPhone. Today in fact, everyone was getting excited about how they can receive notifications on their Fitbits while discussing the latest "fitness challenge".

  • Reply 3 of 21
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,209moderator
    mac_128 wrote: »
    Everyone I know has a Fitbit at work, and I've yet to see one ?Watch, or overhear anybody talking about them

    They seem to be selling quite a lot of units:

    http://www.theverge.com/2015/5/7/8569017/fitbit-ipo-fit-profit
    https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1447599/000119312515176980/d875679ds1.htm

    They've sold over 20m units in total since 2011 with 3.9m in the latest quarter and have an active userbase of 9.5m. That's 20x more than the Pebble has sold.

    I wouldn't expect many people to have both a Fitbit and an Apple Watch. The millions of people buying Apple Watches will likely see a similar lack of Fitbits. They're all just accessories and you're typically only going to see about 1 in 10 people with smartphones with any particular wearable.
  • Reply 4 of 21
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    mac_128 wrote: »
    Fitbit's not going anywhere anytime soon. There's a massive fitness push in my company right now, and everyone is on a Fitbit craze. For $100, people have all they need to track fitness. Everyone I know has a Fitbit at work, and I've yet to see one ?Watch, or overhear anybody talking about them -- and almost all of them use an iPhone. Today in fact, everyone was getting excited about how they can receive notifications on their Fitbits while discussing the latest "fitness challenge".

    In order for you to be at all believable, given your posting history on the Watch, you should tell us what sort of company you work for, and something about the demographics.

    Otherwise, I have to toss your post in the Benjamin Frost file. Empty FUD.
  • Reply 5 of 21
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,209moderator
    flaneur wrote: »
    In order for you to be at all believable, given your posting history on the Watch, you should tell us what sort of company you work for, and something about the demographics.

    Otherwise, I have to toss your post in the Benjamin Frost file. Empty FUD.

    Individual experiences can't be scaled up to an entire market either way. Back when people wanted a big phone, people would say 'everybody I know has a big phone' or 'everybody I know is switching to Android because they want a big phone'. When the 5C launched, it was 'I've never seen anyone with a 5C'. When the iPhone 6 Plus arrived, it was anecdotes about how people don't use their iPad minis any more. People like to validate their own opinions by looking at people nearest to them but nobody can assess an international market of millions of people from 'everyone I know' or 'everyone I see'.

    The most reliable way is from the sales figures. We only know Fitbit's so far. Apple will report their figures at the end of July in their 'other' segment. It was at $1.6b last quarter and $1.7b the equivalent Q3 last year. If they sold 3m watches for example then it will show up at least $1b higher at around $2.7b.
  • Reply 6 of 21
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,399member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post



    Individual experiences can't be scaled up to an entire market either way. 

    Yup. No argument there. However the data in this article seemingly supports my anecdotal evidence. I suspect next year when the 1g ?Watch likely drops to $249, after the 2g model comes out, the Fitbit Surge will be a harder justification. But I expect the charge and flex will still be quite popular (and even less expensive) for those who merely are looking to track their fitness. I don't really see them competing against the ?Watch.

  • Reply 7 of 21
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,209moderator
    mac_128 wrote: »
    the data in this article seemingly supports my anecdotal evidence.

    Fitbit's sales figures would also back up that it's a popular device. There's no indicator of the level of interest in the Apple Watch though. Even if you had 30 work colleagues, half with iPhones, only 1 out of the 30 would have to own an Apple Watch for it to match the ratio of a successful product. One company selling 10 million units doesn't mean another hasn't sold 10 million units. A dozen companies can each sell 10 million units in the wearables market.
  • Reply 8 of 21
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,399member
    Marvin wrote: »
    Fitbit's sales figures would also back up that it's a popular device. There's no indicator of the level of interest in the Apple Watch though. Even if you had 30 work colleagues, half with iPhones, only 1 out of the 30 would have to own an Apple Watch for it to match the ratio of a successful product. One company selling 10 million units doesn't mean another hasn't sold 10 million units. A dozen companies can each sell 10 million units in the wearables market.

    My observation about the Apple watch has nothing to do with whether it's a successful product. How can it not be successful given the number of iPhones on the planet? Even a small percentage translates into millions of units sold -- at least as many as everybody else combined last year. Whether it will have the same growth rate as other products remains to be seen, not to mention whether they will be able to instill the same kind of upgrade desire year after year.

    No, my comment was strictly in relation to the people who are buying fitbits for whom the Apple watch doesn't appeal. In other words, there's a thriving market out there for Fitbit that has no interest in the Apple watch. So The Apple Watch is no threat to the Fitbit at the moment. And price seems to have a lot to do with that.
  • Reply 9 of 21
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    mac_128 wrote: »
    My observation about the Apple watch has nothing to do with whether it's a successful product. How can it not be successful given the number of iPhones on the planet? Even a small percentage translates into millions of units sold -- at least as many as everybody else combined last year. Whether it will have the same growth rate as other products remains to be seen, not to mention whether they will be able to instill the same kind of upgrade desire year after year.

    No, my comment was strictly in relation to the people who are buying fitbits for whom the Apple watch doesn't appeal. In other words, there's a thriving market out there for Fitbit that has no interest in the Apple watch. So The Apple Watch is no threat to the Fitbit at the moment. And price seems to have a lot to do with that.

    So your story is bizarrely forced to carry even more weight. You are saying nobody is not on a Fitbit craze at your company. ("Nobody" is the corollary of "everybody.") Nobody has a Watch or even talks about them. Everyone you know at this company has a Fitbit, while almost all of them have an iPhone. Everyone is excited today about notifications on their Fitbits and the fitness challenge.

    I think even you might understand why someone would gag on your story.
  • Reply 10 of 21
    bgarnettbgarnett Posts: 11member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by martinb412 View Post



    I have a hard time using Fitbit because they lock your data to their apps. Why can't I natively and automatically export to healthkit? Their app has horrid data visuals as well.



    I too would love native support for HealthKit, however there is a middleman app to bring the two together called Sync Solver. Perhaps once Apple's devices gain further traction we'll see Fitbit reconsider their lack of support?

  • Reply 11 of 21
    Wow. Those fitbits truly are ugly. I also know lots of people with fitbits. They're waiting on the sidelines. None are likely to immediately buy an Apple Watch, but the next time their fitbit dies or wears out, many will switch to Apple Watch. Getting notifications on your fitbit is a gateway drug. People will like that but long for a richer and deeper use than that.

    I got my Apple Watch on launch day a month ago, and I am still in disbelief that this is a first-generation product. It's so incredibly polished and it has transformed my techie lifestyle for the better. It's also made me more engaged with people and less shackled to my iPhone.

    One more point: I predict the Apple Watch will NOT be refreshed each year. It'll be on a longer refresh cycle. Those of you waiting for Apple Watch 2.0 will be waiting until 2017.
  • Reply 12 of 21
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,219member
    likeafox24 wrote: »
    ...

    One more point: I predict the Apple Watch will NOT be refreshed each year. It'll be on a longer refresh cycle. Those of you waiting for Apple Watch 2.0 will be waiting until 2017.
    Your "prediction" is not a prediction; it is a statement of fact. There are those who believe that ?Watch 2.0 will be released before the year is out. They have not thought through the implications of the fact that the $17,000 ?Watch Edition has the same functionality of the $350 ?Watch Sport. At the price of three Mac Pros, the Edition is Apple's most expensive consumer product ever. The fantasy that people who can afford the Edition are profligate spenders notwithstanding, you don't obsolete $17,000 consumer products on an annual cycle.
  • Reply 13 of 21
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,399member
    likeafox24 wrote: »
    None are likely to immediately buy an Apple Watch, but the next time their fitbit dies or wears out, many will switch to Apple Watch. Getting notifications on your fitbit is a gateway drug. People will like that but long for a richer and deeper use than that.

    One more point: I predict the Apple Watch will NOT be refreshed each year. It'll be on a longer refresh cycle. Those of you waiting for Apple Watch 2.0 will be waiting until 2017.
    I agree with you, by the time their fitbits need upgrading, and perhaps even before, those using them will be interested in paying what will then only be a little bit more to get a much nicer ?Watch, as prices will continue to drop on the entry level models just like they do on the iPhone and iPad.

    I don't agree with you about the refresh. Because Apple is pandering to the fashion world, they will be sort of forced to continue to update the designs if they want to continue to curry their favor. Also, arguably the primary market for the watch will be those customers who have already bought them, and need to sell an upgrade. People who pass on them because it doesn't offer enough for them will likely largely continue to pass unless Apple offers them some compelling reasons. For those reasons Apple will add some must have for the next edition which will be out in a year just in time for graduation gifts. I predict a FaceTime camera will be one of the compelling hardware upgrades. Apple also needs to lower the price point on the entry level model to more quickly expand the user base, and the only way to do that is to have a new model easily distinguishable from the previous -- this is likely why Apples 2nd year, gen 2 products are always radically different -- it's almost like a completely new product launch for the general public. And finally, there's the nature of watch owners, many of whom buy multiple watches to wear for different purposes. Offering a second design gives existing users a reason to buy an additional watch, and new users a reason to buy two at once. This applies especially to the Edition. It's making the most out of a nascent market that isn't exactly sure whether they need a smart watch.
  • Reply 14 of 21
    tontontonton Posts: 14,067
    I have an Apple watch, and I also have a Mi Band. I use both. I really use the Mi Band only for sleep tracking since the Apple Watch is useless for that, but it's also interesting to compare step count between the Mi Band and the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch seems far more accurate.

    There's nothing that the Fitbit is better at than the Apple Watch.

    If there's one tracker besides the Apple Watch I would choose, it would be the Pebble. The Pebble is waterproof, and there is a swimming app available for Pebble. It's also far more affordable than other waterproof options. But it looks like ass.
  • Reply 15 of 21
    tontontonton Posts: 14,067
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mac_128 View Post

     

    Fitbit's not going anywhere anytime soon. There's a massive fitness push in my company right now, and everyone is on a Fitbit craze. For $100, people have all they need to track fitness. Everyone I know has a Fitbit at work, and I've yet to see one ?Watch, or overhear anybody talking about them -- and almost all of them use an iPhone. Today in fact, everyone was getting excited about how they can receive notifications on their Fitbits while discussing the latest "fitness challenge".




    The Mi Band (I bought mine for $15) is such a superior choice than any Fitbit $100 or cheaper, it's ridiculous. Only the Fitbit Charge and above have more features, being the display showing time and caller ID. The Fitbit Charge is $125!



    $15 for sleep tracking with automatic sleep detection, step count with calorie count, silent alarm with smart wake function, and an IOS app that syncs with HealthKit... or $125 for the same features plus a clock and caller ID... and no HealthKit syncing... gee, what a difficult choice. /s



    The only Fitbit that is remotely attractive in the era of the Mi Band is the Charge HR, with heart rate monitor. But then you're approaching the price of an Apple Watch.

  • Reply 16 of 21
    tontontonton Posts: 14,067

    Can anyone who likes Fitbit claim that any Fitbit is better than both the Mi Band and The Pebble?

  • Reply 17 of 21
    tontontonton Posts: 14,067



    Plus the MiBand has HealthKit syncing and smart wake. It's no contest, really. And no offence, but it looks nicer.

  • Reply 18 of 21
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,399member
    tonton wrote: »
    The only Fitbit that is remotely attractive in the era of the Mi Band is the Charge HR, with heart rate monitor. But then you're approaching the price of an Apple Watch.
    I'm not sure how $149 is approaching $349 by any stretch of the imagination. An extra $100 to step up from the Surge to the ?Watch is sort of reasonable considering why someone would be considering the Surge to begin with, but an extra $200 is the difference between having groceries for the week or not for some.

    When the first gen ?Watch drops to $249 next year, then the jump from the Charge HR will make more sense. The MiBand seems like a perfectly reasonable budget fitness tracker. I've never heard of it before, and neither have my colleagues I presume. One reason Fitbit is so popular in my company is because of marketing initiatives by Fitbit through corporate Heath plans offering discounts to employees. If MiBand had a similar program then I'm sure many more would have chosen the $15 option.

    The fact is there's going to be more than enough room for all of these bands. Fitbit is going to have to become far more competitive in the low end, as well as the high end thanks to Apple and MiBand. Few companies are going to be able to match the fit and finish of the ?Watch, but then again, not everyone cares about that in what is predominantly a fitness band. Now that Apple's competition knows what is expected of a successful smart watch, it's going to make the choice between Apple and other offerings a bit more difficult, depending on the needs of the user.
  • Reply 19 of 21
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    mac_128 wrote: »
    I agree with you, by the time their fitbits need upgrading, and perhaps even before, those using them will be interested in paying what will then only be a little bit more to get a much nicer ?Watch, as prices will continue to drop on the entry level models just like they do on the iPhone and iPad.

    I don't agree with you about the refresh. Because Apple is pandering to the fashion world, they will be sort of forced to continue to update the designs if they want to continue to curry their favor. Also, arguably the primary market for the watch will be those customers who have already bought them, and need to sell an upgrade. People who pass on them because it doesn't offer enough for them will likely largely continue to pass unless Apple offers them some compelling reasons. For those reasons Apple will add some must have for the next edition which will be out in a year just in time for graduation gifts. I predict a FaceTime camera will be one of the compelling hardware upgrades. Apple also needs to lower the price point on the entry level model to more quickly expand the user base, and the only way to do that is to have a new model easily distinguishable from the previous -- this is likely why Apples 2nd year, gen 2 products are always radically different -- it's almost like a completely new product launch for the general public. And finally, there's the nature of watch owners, many of whom buy multiple watches to wear for different purposes. Offering a second design gives existing users a reason to buy an additional watch, and new users a reason to buy two at once. This applies especially to the Edition. It's making the most out of a nascent market that isn't exactly sure whether they need a smart watch.

    Every one of your predictions is a projection of your own sleazy values onto a company with much higher objectives than you can imagine. Same goes for your generalizations about Apple's approach to its market, and about its customers in relation to this product. Your defective values lead you into insane absurdities, e.g., "a reason to buy two at once" for new users.

    By the way, second generation products are different from first generation because of progress in technology, including production technology developed by experience in the first run.
  • Reply 20 of 21
    I had a BodyBugg with all the accessories a few years ago that was over $300. The food logging was clunky and I didn't like the subscription model. The Mac compatibility wasn't great, either. I also had a FitBit zip and the battery cover broke, then the device itself just stopped working one day. My hubby just bought me a watch sport for my birthday - the only problem is waiting 2-3 weeks for it to arrive! I'm excited to not have to take my iPhone out of my flip belt when I'm working out and someone calls or I want to see where I'm at. This thing is going to sell like hot cakes and will probably wipe out most fitness trackers IMO.
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