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Fitbit’s fitness-tracker business slows again as smartwatch sales grow

Fitbit’s fitness-tracker business slows again as smartwatch sales grow
[Photo: fancycrave1/Pixabay]

Fitbit claimed a small victory Wednesday when it announced March-quarter results that narrowly beat analyst expectations. The company reported revenues of $247.9 million, while Wall Street had expected $247.3 million. Earnings per share loss was 17¢, compared to the 20¢ loss analysts expected.

The company’s main business remains wearable fitness trackers, and it sold less of them in the March quarter than in the same quarter a year ago, the result of a cooling global demand for the devices. On the other hand,  the company’s budding smartwatch line contributed 30% of total revenues. Fitbit’s latest Versa smartwatch looks something like an Apple Watch, but it costs just $199.

Fitbit is a company in transition. It’s trying to reduce its reliance on direct-to-consumer sales of fitness devices by providing high numbers of them to health insurers, healthcare providers, and big employers. All of these players are taking on financial risk for the health of their members/employees, so they have an interest in providing tools that promote fitness and wellness.

Fitbit stock got a lift earlier this week after it announced plans to use Google’s cloud service and healthcare API to offer a care management and coaching platform for healthcare providers. Adam Pellegrini, who leads Fitbit’s Health Solutions team, told me that in the future his company hopes to use Google’s machine learning capabilities to draw insights from large sets of patients, and perhaps analyze the data to find (and proactively treat) patients who are likely to be headed for health problems in the future.

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