David vs Goliath, the story of Fitbit vs Apple.

Wearable fitness trackers are hot as lava nowadays, and for many reasons. Whether it’s helping track heart rate, calories burned, and personal activity, “shipments of the devices spiked from 35.5 million in 2014 to 85 million in 2015, representing a 139% increase year-over-year.”[1] With such an eruption in sales continuing on, new fitness trackers and models are coming out every day by competitors in the industry trying to edge out one another. The two biggest ones are Fitbit and Apple. These companies share a similar product and target market, but they differ in many more aspects. Apple is… well its Apple. Everybody knows Apple is able to develop the newest innovations in products for both hardware and software better than arguably any company ever. And they have been at their best producing innovations from the early 2000’s until now. They have an advantage compared to Fitbit, a much newer company which had IPO’d in June of 2015. Now to gain an edge over each other, they have to compete with new models and apps that work with these watches, which means the company with the better corporate innovation will come out on top.

The strongest brand in the world is that way for a reason, constant innovation, and they stay on top because of it. The brand is very important here, since Apple will get customers who want to wear an Apple Watch more than they want a fitness tracker. The technology they bring to the smartwatch industry is similar to other products they have made in the past, like the iPod Nano with a touch screen, making it easy for them to innovate and create a product better and quicker than competitors. Not only that, when you check your Fitbit stats, you generally use an iPhone to do so. With the better technology than Fitbit, and the brand which is unbeatable, it’s easy to see why Apple is Goliath.

However David, also known as Fitbit, has something to say about that. Fitbit, being a newer company, still specializes in just fitness trackers and smartwatches. They innovate much quicker than Apple in this niche area, producing a wider variety of products, and all for a cheaper price. Not only that, they innovate in the fashion area, meaning people will buy their product based on how nice it looks, which makes its fashion at least as  important as brand. With a lower price point, they are able to win on fashion, as people can upgrade to a new style tracker more frequently than with a more expensive model such as Apple. With a whole company more focused on innovating in a certain area of products, it makes Fitbit the top dog. In Sept 2016 Fitbit held 25.4% of the market share in wearables, while Apple was third, with 7%, after dropping from 20.3% of market share just a year prior[2]. This shows how Fitbit, a new company, is beating one of the most innovative companies in the world. Fitbit is an excellent example of a niche player being able to maintain a 3 times the market share over the leading technology company in the world by intense focus and great execution.

-Dom Pizzano

Update: even more recent market share information can be found here: http://connexity.com/blog/2017/02/fitbit/

[1] https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/03/20/7-wearable-tech-trends-to-watch-over-the-next-5-ye.aspx?platform=hootsuite

[2] https://9to5mac.com/2016/09/06/apple-market-share-wearables-apple-watch/

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