MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
53,049
14,800



Fitbit is set to announce cuts of between 5 to 10 percent to its workforce later on Monday amid lower-than-expected fourth quarter results.

According to The Information, the job cuts are expected to affect between 80 and 160 people across multiple departments and save the company $200 million in costs. The Q4 results will be the second consecutive quarter in which Fitbit has missed its earnings guidance.

fitbit-charge-and-flex.jpg

Fitbit is expected to blame the slowdown on a sluggish market, despite Market research data from September that showed a split in the wearables market, with Fitbit's "basic wearables" gaining popularity, and "smart wearables" like the Apple Watch seeing stalled growth.

Despite a portion of the market stalling out, the overall wearable device market was said to have grown 26.1 percent in comparison to the year ago quarter, with Fitbit the leading brand. Additionally, Fitbit's stock rose 7.4 percent on December 27, after reports that its app had become one of the most downloaded in the App Store on Christmas Day.

Fitbit's recent acquisition of Pebble and Vector Watch - along with its rumored interest in Jawbone - suggested the company was increasingly aligning itself with software rather than relying solely on hardware sales, and the reported layoffs could be another part of that plan. Indeed, one source told The Information that Fitbit is aiming to develop its own App Store and open up devices to third-party developers.

Whether Fitbit is planning to launch a more traditional smartwatch with a dedicated app store as part of those plans remains unclear.

Article Link: Fitbit Expected to Announce Layoffs in Fourth Quarter Results
 

dukeblue219

macrumors regular
Dec 18, 2012
193
289
A little surprising since they're so popular, the smart watch sector is not doing as well as I think people thought it would
My crude analysis would be the same as GoPro: People who want one already have one. People who don't yet have one will never buy one.

Their futures lies in other fields related to the products they're best known for (ie video and wearables), but neither will be the next Apple based on a single product.
 
Comment

djcerla

macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2015
2,022
9,452
Italy
Not a chance to compete, with Apple going all in in applied medical research and AI.
 
Comment

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
68,057
35,613
Boston
Trouble with all fitness trackers is that they're all inaccurate, some very. I fail to see the point of them when they're guesstimates.
I think the fitbit carved out a nice niche and its a popular item, of course I can see them having trouble getting new customers. Many of those who own one now, don't feel the need to buy a new one.
 
Comment

nwcs

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2009
2,096
3,042
Tennessee
Most of the trackers are glorified over-expensive pedometers. And 10,000 steps a day is based on an old Japanese marketing gimmick with no real medical substance to it. And given how rampant cheating is in all these step challenges I think it won't take many years before companies, and people, stop seeing them as more than they are.

I got the Watch 2 hoping it would have a lot of utility but it's only been OK. Doesn't to as much as I was hoping. And now it's going back to Apple because the digital crown is crapped out. Might give it to my mom afterwards.
 
Comment

Abazigal

Contributor
Jul 18, 2011
14,702
13,786
Singapore
Don't all shout at me but everyone who I know has a Fitbit ... how are they making a loss!
The same logic that Android smartphones are barely making any money despite shipping more units than the iPhone. Market share is the means. Profit is the end. All the devices sold in the world means squat if they don't let you turn a meaningful profit.

You can only earn so much by flooding the market with cheap hardware. Margins likely aren't very high to begin with, and the market seems to have pretty much saturated.

The discounted series 0 Apple Watch ($199 during Christmas) also puts a hard cap on how much fitbit can charge for their own products, which in turn puts downward pressure on their profitability. Likewise, Fitbit has no way of monetising their products after the sales of their hardware.

It looks like the wearables market may eventually become yet another 2-horse race (Apple and Samsung).
 
Comment

manu chao

macrumors 604
Jul 30, 2003
7,168
2,992
Most of the trackers are glorified over-expensive pedometers.
The key difference with pedometers that came before it, is that it charts your step history automatically. I've tried using standard pedometers, writing down the step count every night and charting them in a spreadsheet. That's something that nobody will keep up for any significant amount of time.

Then they also record altitude changes (and very effectively separate the ones you achieved while walking vs those achieved in elevators, cars, etc., before I got a Fitbit, I had a Suunto Core which could filter out pressure changes due to weather but not assisted changes in cars or elevators). Then they add a calorie count, that although not accurate is very consistent (ie, the same effort yields the same number).
And 10,000 steps a day is based on an old Japanese marketing gimmick with no real medical substance to it.
Yeah, physical exercise has nothing to do with health.
And given how rampant cheating is in all these step challenges I think it won't take many years before companies, and people, stop seeing them as more than they are.
99% of people using fitness trackers aren't motivated by any challenges, except challenging themselves.
 
Comment

nwcs

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2009
2,096
3,042
Tennessee
The key difference with pedometers that came before it, is that it charts your step history automatically. I've tried using standard pedometers, writing down the step count every night and charting them in a spreadsheet. That's something that nobody will keep up for any significant amount of time.
True, but even some cheap ones like some of the Jawbone UP ones did that for $40. I'm not saying there's no utility to these but rather the value of them is questionable.

Yeah, physical exercise has nothing to do with health.

Non sequitur. I said 10,000 steps a day is based on an old marketing gimmick. That's not saying that physical exercise has nothing to do with health. Logic error there, I'm afraid.

99% of people using fitness trackers aren't motivated by any challenges, except challenging themselves.

Inventing a percent to justify your belief isn't very convincing. While some have certainly been motivated I'd say quite a few more than 1% that do this as part of a workplace requirement game the system.

http://www.rivalhealth.com/blog/corporate-wellness-programs/employees-cheat-wellness-programs
http://www.cio.com/article/3084493/health/7-common-pitfalls-of-corporate-wellness-programs.html
http://www.ajmc.com/journals/issue/...ould-disband-employee-weight-control-programs
 
Comment

hanser

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2013
254
197
My crude analysis would be the same as GoPro: People who want one already have one. People who don't yet have one will never buy one.

No. There are always more late adopters than eary adopters. I personally am interested, but wait for more technical functionality. Maybe Apple Watch 3 or 4.
 
Comment

slingshott

macrumors member
Jan 23, 2017
76
38
My crude analysis would be the same as GoPro: People who want one already have one. People who don't yet have one will never buy one.

There's probably some truth in this. People seem to fall on either side of the fence: It's either a huge part of their life or they think they're utterly pointless. I'm also not sure how many of the features (HR for example) people actually use.
 
Comment

manu chao

macrumors 604
Jul 30, 2003
7,168
2,992
True, but even some cheap ones like some of the Jawbone UP ones did that for $40. I'm not saying there's no utility to these but rather the value of them is questionable.
You are still missing the point. Which is that the charting options, the breadth of different data, the universal access from any device including a web browser is the key utility. And Fitbit simply has some of the best tools here.

And note that this $40 price apparently wasn't sustainable either, as Jawbone and other smaller fitness tracker companies are folding and/or are being bought by Fitbit. In fact, all this collection of data and charting usually disappears with the company, yet another reason not to use the cheapest option on offer.
Non sequitur. I said 10,000 steps a day is based on an old marketing gimmick. That's not saying that physical exercise has nothing to do with health. Logic error there, I'm afraid.
Of course 10'000 is an arbitrary number. But the only reason you were pointing this out is to cast doubt on the health benefits of physical exercise (while still being able to deny that you ever said such a thing).
While some have certainly been motivated I'd say quite a few more than 1% that do this as part of a workplace requirement game the system.
All personal accounts from people having used fitness trackers that I have seen do not use it to achieve any externally set goals. But maybe that is because people that are not interested in the fitness benefits and just want to cache the incentives would never even bother to talk about their fitness trackers.

But if you are not interested in fitness tracking, it is likely that you almost all of your news about their usage comes from general news articles. And like crime reporting, if you only ever hear about fitness trackers when they are used for cheating, you believe that this must be a common thing, without taking into account that what makes it into the news is the exceptional, not the standard.

But the biggest mistake is that you assume that 'corporate use' of fitness trackers is responsible for any significant part of fitness tracker sales. It simply isn't. How many people do you know that use fitness trackers and how many of those got it as part of their job?
 
Comment

iMerik

macrumors 6502a
May 3, 2011
613
451
Upper Midwest
Time to change strategy and support Apple’s HealthKit. Give the people options, because walling yourself in doesn't work for all companies. Apple may have perfected it, but it might appear isolationist for Fitbit buyers and investors.
 
Comment

Harmonious Zen

macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2013
697
355
Don't all shout at me but everyone who I know has a Fitbit ... how are they making a loss!

They're not making a loss. They're just not growing as quickly as they were previously. Big, big distinction. Same thing is happening with Apple.

In other words, Fitbit may potentially be gaining in popularity, but Wall Street only cares about the most recent period.

And a renewed focus on software is a great idea. It's the software that makes the device. The hardware itself is too easily replicated.
 
Comment

honglong1976

macrumors 68000
Jul 12, 2008
1,506
951
UK
I had a Fitbit Blaze and Fitbit Flex. I traded both in for an Apple Watch.

Fitbit counts steps well and the social aspect is the killer feature. Their trackers (even the top of the range ones) feels very cheaply made, even more so compared to an Apple Watch SS.

I wanted a smart watch that offered notifications and fitness features. It also had to replace my watch. The Apple Watch feels like a watch that also does other things. The Fitbit blaze's vibration was terrible the Apple Watch vibration is superb. The fitbit felt like a tracker replacement but not something to replace my watch.

Everyone I know has/had a Fitbit but a large portion of those have sold and moved onto an Apple Watch.

Once you try an Apple Watch, there is no going back! It's like going from 5.1 to stereo.

Also Fitbit features were intentionally held back to encourage you to buy the next model that come out. You can vote for features, which seems pointless as the features with the most votes never get implemented (healthkit for example).

If Apple released a basic fitness tracker, marketing it as "compete with your friends," "30 day battery life," etc it would bye bye Fitbit.
 
Last edited:
Comment

jdillings

macrumors 68000
Jun 21, 2015
1,541
5,175
Trouble with all fitness trackers is that they're all inaccurate, some very. I fail to see the point of them when they're guesstimates.

Their popularity is largely due to the social engagement (being able to battle friends in the accumulation of steps). Their customers aren't looking for an accurate measurement of their physical activity. They'd get one of the Garmin GPS watches if they were.
 
Comment

nwcs

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2009
2,096
3,042
Tennessee
But the only reason you were pointing this out is to cast doubt on the health benefits of physical exercise (while still being able to deny that you ever said such a thing).
Thanks for clarifying my motives and intent. I didn't realize you were me. What else am I thinking? You take a small point and turn it into something totally not what I'm saying at all. That's mischaracterization.

All personal accounts from people having used fitness trackers that I have seen do not use it to achieve any externally set goals.
Anecdotal evidence means absolutely nothing.

But if you are not interested in fitness tracking, it is likely that you almost all of your news about their usage comes from general news articles.
Strawman argument. You assign a thought/attitude/statement to me that I did not make and then argue against it.

But the biggest mistake is that you assume that 'corporate use' of fitness trackers is responsible for any significant part of fitness tracker sales. It simply isn't. How many people do you know that use fitness trackers and how many of those got it as part of their job?
I posted links to reputable articles demonstrating the point I made that people can, and do, cheat with pedometers. I didn't indicate anywhere whether they were the bulk of sales or not. That's another position you assign to me in order to argue against. My only point, as was fairly clear, was disputing your invented notion that 99% of people with fitness trackers are motivated solely by challenging themselves. You can't prove that statement. And if cheating is rampant in corporate wellness programs where a certain amount of people have trackers then it's likely indicative of a larger than 1%.
 
Comment

nburwell

macrumors 603
May 6, 2008
5,034
1,943
DE
The fact that Fitbit acquired two companies recently comes as a surprise to be honest.
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.