Excellent post today by Malay Gandhi over at RockHealth on deconstructing the FitBit S1. Obviously the company has “rocked it” in terms of revenue growth and brand recognition, but what is the overall impact on health and does it create lasting positive lifestyle modifications. Gandhi makes a compelling case that the Company’s own data indicates a rapid erosion of paid customers using the device to monitor their activity levels and raises the question of whether a strong competitor, such as the Apple Watch, can bring more lasting engagement and functionality to the space.
Having looked at the space (and frankly having missed on the opportunity to invest in FitBit), I am of two minds. Firstly, there is much room for continued innovation in the space and a very large market of fitness enthusiasts and aspirationalists that would like to be fitter and healthier providing opportunity for many new companies to enter the space and build significant revenue. The second mind is that the gadget itself is insufficient to create lasting changes in lifestyle without addressing some of the other issues (lack of time, support, training, knowledge, etc) that enable individuals to consistently follow a new practice. Without this, these gadgets become fitness jewelry for those who are already fit or drawer junk for those who are not.