There’s no escaping it—we’re all living connected in a wearable world. With consumers largely viewing their wearable devices as an extension of their smartphones, brands are increasingly looking to leverage their line of products to suffice the sometimes insatiable appetite for all things “smart.”
With sustained success for the wearables industry relying heavily on continued user engagement and true value for the products they’re purchasing—almost always at a steep price—stepping away from the early adopters and into mass consumer adoption remains a piece to the puzzle that has not been discovered yet.
Around-the-clock attention to personal health and fitness by way of fitness trackers were once all the rage, but they’ve lost some steam in recent years due to the proliferation of the smartwatch. However, rivals are regularly emerging in both spaces, with Fitbit soon joining the swath of smarthwatch sellers, too.
Fitbit, whose 2016 Q4 revenue were down 19 percent year-over-year, are trying to scale their globally connected health and fitness business by restructuring their accessories strategy and forcing its way amongst a gaggle of gadgets by banking on the social elements and community around an active lifestyle.
The wearables market has evolved from the first wave of fitness trackers from the last decade, and Fitbit is remaining nimble by enhancing their social experience with the redesigned Fitstar Personal Trainer app to connect users and deliver tailored guidance that can help drive behavioral changes. They’ve also procured data-inspired partnerships to integrate the brand with such brands as VirZOOM, Habit and Peloton. The updates should bode well for their active user community that has grown 37 percent.
On Monday, they introduced a new product on the market in the Alta HR, billed as the world’s slimmest fitness wristband with continuous heart rate tracking.
“When looking at the technology adoption curve and utilizing the US market as a proxy, we have successfully captured a large portion of the innovator and early adopter segments in tracker market,” Fitbit CEO James Park said in an earnings call last month. “We believe the early and late majority segments of the tracker market represents an additional significant target opportunity of between 40 million to 80 million new tracker customers.”
[a]listdaily recently caught up with Fitbit and Youmi Bang, senior product merchandising and marketing manager for the company, to learn more about how they are catering to the ever-evolving wearables consumer—and industry.
How is the consumer appetite for wearables changing? What are the shifts Fitbit has been monitoring?
As you know, Fitbit is a leader in the connected health and wellness space. Our updates earlier this year were about providing the guidance, inspiration and motivation for our consumers to really reach their goals, and lead a happier and healthier life. In the grand scheme, a lot of our consumers are wanting a little bit more guidance and inspiration. What we’ve really done is bring in community, which is really all about connecting our user group with their friends—all while Fitbit motivates them and cheers them on. There’s a social feature that gives the ability to share what you’re doing in terms of exercise, and allowing you to look at articles and share that information.
How does the social and community element open up new marketing opportunities for Fitbit?
There’s a little bit of a gamification element. We actually see in our data that those who are more socially connected with their friends are actually more likely to have higher activity rates. We actually see more engagement with their friends or groups on an average of 700 more steps. We think that our Feed updates will be huge for our users in that they’ll really be able to connect, feel better about themselves, while being motivated to move more, which is our mission here at Fitbit.
How is Fitbit using consumer feedback to keep the brand nimble?
We’ve heard from our users, and we really want to provide a guidance and personalized experience—which is why we launched Personal Goal Setting in the Fitbit app. The update provides a step-by-step guided process based on insights from data and health and fitness objectives.
How are you leveraging the data that you collect as marketing collateral?
We understand through data what kind of activities and exercises you’re doing. For instance, if you ran 10 miles, we may feed you exercises and personal training suggestions that you could do through our Fitstar Personal Trainer app. With the app, we can offer tailored content through achievable goals that users might want to try the next day.
What kind of messaging works best for Fitbit users?
We try to reach consumers efficiently through all of the different traditional channels, like TV advertising, digital and social media. Through our update for the Fitbit community, for our existing user base, we activated Groups, which lets you discover and join over 20 fitness, nutrition, wellness and weight loss communities of like-minded people to help support and inspire you on your journey.
How do you see the wearables space developing in the near future?
We’re really concentrating on providing this next level of guidance, and that’s what our software announcements are all about. We’re really excited about our Personal Trainer feature, our community on FitStar. We think that it’s a huge differentiator for Fitbit because we have the entire platform—we have really great hardware, we have really great software, and we now are putting more insight, which is what the consumer wants. We also see in data that having this great platform really retains our community and wanting to buy more products from us and continuing with the Fitbit brand. We see our brand strongpoint when people choose to return to us.
Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan