Company · Consumer

Are fitness/health-tracking devices still a growing industry?

Arpi Narula Keen tester | Agile Promoter | Newbie developer | Chatbots and AR lover | New technologies explorer

May 11th, 2017

I don’t know a ton about this industry, but I’ve followed the FitBit stock a bit since it IPO’d two years ago. Since that time, FitBit’s stock price has plummeted from around an apex of $48 to $6. Based off of that and hearing less about fitness/health trackers, I assumed that the novelty of the industry had worn off in the minds of consumers, and that the industry as a whole was in a freefall. But then today I read that Apple recently acquired a sleep-tracking company called Beddit. Are some segments of the fitness/health-tracking industry growing while others are in a state of steep decline?

Steve Karmeinsky CoFounder City Meets Tech / Lean Capital Ltd / Placeholder Ltd

May 12th, 2017

I a user of various fitness tracker (I wear a Nike Fuelband SE, Misfit Ray, MS Band2, Fitbit AltaHR, Xiaomi Band2, and Withings Go). They all have their plus/minus features and the apps vary too. I also have a Beddit sleep tracker so it will be interesting to see what Apple do with the company. In terms of sleep tracking all are reasonably consistent. In terms of steps/etc they vary considerably.

The new Xiaomi AMAZFIT smart band looks very cool.

I think most people just get bored and don't bother tracking after a while.

More functionality will go into trackers, but there's a big danger of them becoming 'medical devices' which then fall into a whole bunch of regulation, though big companies like Apple can of course go through the regulation, but even they'd likely partner with some medical company in that space.

Lauren Harriman Rockstart Pitch Writer, Licensed CA Attorney, CIPP/US, Tech Law Blogger

May 11th, 2017

Basically, you can't just be a "health tracker" and have the crowd go wild anymore. But if you have a specific feature, there's definitely a customer base to be had. Example: Bellabeat Leaf specifically targets women. Admittedly, I haven't looked at their financials lately, but they've been steadily releasing new products and features over the last couple years.

Andrea Leiter Marketing Strategist - Multi-disciplined, brand & revenue builder, 40+ verticals, B2B & B2C

May 11th, 2017

This new category/industry is just beginning. As with any new category, there are early players, modifications to design, and redesign of the full value proposition holistically.

You'll find this very interesting: A Legal blog posting from Steve Baird notes updates with the new category name "wearable activity trackers" at the USPTO Trademark Office and 244 pending trademark applications in 2016.

HELO -- Fitness Watch -- Word on the street is that they are in co-development (building out 100 applications) with Toshiba; projecting sales of 1 million units (using a direct selling, one to one model). The value of the product is the solution it will offer consumers/patients to monitor health data for current fitness goals with future potential to identify and monitor disease risk & state (using emerging embedded bio-sensor technologies) -- the full market value will be tremendous.

Karl Schulmeisters Founder ExStreamVR

Last updated on May 16th, 2017

You cannot be a "Health Tracker" AT ALL without heavy regulatory burden. if you want to read up on this a bit more I'll point you to our Apps blog (we reduce the cost of getting your Health idea to market by

"Providing a ClearRoadmap through the Forest of FDA Regulations"

So having gotten my pitch in - essentially the reason most of the stuff you see, FitBit included are in the "fitness and wellness" Category (link to FDA Docs) and not Health is because "Health" is FDA regulated but "Fitness" has a specialized exemption from the FDA.

BUUUTTT - and its a big big BUUT, particularly with the new FDA chairman in place - the FDA relies heavily on "Crowd sourced enforcement" in the fitness device field. What do I mean by "Crowd sourced enforcement" ? Its the use of FTC "Fair Sales and Marketing" rules by individual.

That's what FitBit ran afoul of. they advertised themselves as being able to "track and improve your sleeping habits" (one of the FDA exemptions for "fitness and wellness") however they had/have about a 12% error rate in their sleep measurement. 12% sounds pretty reasonable .. EXCEPT for an average 8hr sleep cycle, that's +/- 1 hour. And as anyone knows, the difference between 7hrs sleep/night and 9hrs sleep per night can be profound and have profound effects on your wellness, stress etc.

SOO as soon as FitBit went public, they got sued in a class action suit - IE "Crowd Sourced Enforcement" of FTC (not FDA) "Fair Advertising" regs. And with Treble Damages available this is a very effective enforcement mechanism

Apple also has gotten burned (see my above linked Blog to understand why Apple cut the datalines to the Pulse Oxymeter in its Apple Watch 1.0 )

Mike Hosley ex telecom veteran, executive at telcos, moved to tech and startups in the 90s-

May 12th, 2017

Apple has 30 people working to transform diabetic glucose measuring on a non invasive basis. It's a mixed bag outside of that announcement lately IMHO