You couldn’t go anywhere this past holiday without seeing Fitness trackers all over the place. Just about any place that sold electronics, or the big department stores, all had Fitbit displays on hand – many of them right by the checkout lanes. Wow, what a difference a few months makes for the various companies selling fitness trackers and wearables.
Jawbone was one of those pioneering companies that Silicon Valley loved. It made sleek Bluetooth headsets and was one of the early entrants into the wearables market. It was valued at $3.2 billion dollars in 2014. But it’s move into fitness wearable didn’t go anywhere and, well, now they’re liquidating the company.
Meanwhile, the name you probably know for fitness trackers, FitBit, is having a bit of trouble in its own right. With Apple launching its Apple Watch – with its own fitness tracker – and health data/activity trackers being baked into iPhones and Samsung products, the potential growth for companies like Fitbit has been stunted.
Pebble, one of the first smartwatch makers, struggled and finally sold to Fitbit in 2016. Or, rather it sold its software assets to Fitbit. The purchase price was less than the outstanding debt that Pebble had accumulated.
Fitbit was valued at $8 billion three years ago. For the past year, it posted a $174 million-dollar net loss for 2016.
How quickly things can change in the tech business and how fickle consumers can be. Investment advising website, Seeking Alpha, summed it up like this:
“Fitbit (is) in a fight for its life.”