Taking inspiration from the tracking sensors in the iPhone, James Park and Eric Friedman founded Fitbit in 2007, with the aim of putting the sensors in a smaller package.
Fitbit spent the first two years ramping up production to meet demand. They originally launched at TechCrunch 50 conference in 2008 expecting 50 pre-orders, but came away with more than 2,000.
By 2011, Fitbit was a national brand in the US, available in Best Buy and Walmart. It commanded a hefty lead over all other fitness trackers, which it held until the launch of smartwatches and an influx of cheaper brands from China.
With every Bluetooth update, Fitbit enabled more health and fitness tracking. In 2013, Fitbit launched a fitness tracker with a heart-rate sensor, and has since added new sensors to track EDA, temperature, sleep and menstrual cycle.
Fitbit went public in June 2015, surging from a $4 billion company to $9.7 billion by 2015. This was the height of wearable hype, as Apple launched the first Watch and Pebble launched a second Kickstarter, reaching $20 million.
Fitbit would acquire Pebble in 2017 for $23 million, a sign that some of the spark had left the wearables market. More than $8 billion had been shaved off Fitbit’s market cap by 2017, as Apple and Xiaomi overtook Fitbit.
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Fitbit entered the smartwatch market late. Like most market leaders, the company originally called the smartwatch a different product type, only to slowly realise many of its customers were happy to ditch a fitness tracker for a feature-packed smartwatch.
Fitbit has added more active users every year, even as its lost market share and revenue. In 2019, it counted 29 million active users on its platform, which accounts for about a quarter of the company’s total fitness tracker sales.
In the past few years, Fitbit has attempted to build an Apple Watch competitor, with the ability to make payments and respond to messages. However, it remains geared towards fitness and health, while Apple and Samsung have been able to broaden their market to other types of customers.
In 2019, Alphabet announced its intention to acquire Fitbit for $2.1 billion. It was completed in January 2021.
Will Fitbit remain a key wearable brand?
Google has not been great at handling its hardware acquisitions. Motorola suffered catastrophic market share loss under the search giant, and the internal affairs of Nest under Google ownership have been thoroughly detailed. It’s likely Google will retain the brand, at least in the short-term, while merging the team into the hardware division.
We have collected data and statistics on Fitbit. Read on below to find out more.
Fitbit key statistics
- Fitbit generated $1.13 billion revenue in 2020, a 20 percent loss year-on-year
- In 2020, Fitbit posted a net loss of $190 million
- Fitbit sold 10.6 million units in 2020, a 31 percent decrease year-on-year
- Over 31 million people use Fitbit once a week
|Launch date||26 March 2007|
|HQ||San Francisco, California|
|People||James Park (CEO), Eric Friedman (CTO), Sundar Pichai (Alphabet CEO)|
Note: Parentheses indicates loss
Note: Active Fitbit users are counted as those who use their device once a week
Fitbit registered users
Fitbit device sales
How many Fitbit users use groups?
Over 4.7 million Fitbit users are active in at least one group
How many steps have Fitbit users taken?
Fitbit users have taken over 75 trillion steps (Fitbit)
How much did Google pay for Fitbit?
Google acquired Fitbit for $2.1 billion