Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to the Speedo Shine as the “Speedo Shrine.” We apologize for the error, especially to those disappointed readers who expected to read about an actual Speedo shrine.
On Tuesday, wearable device-maker Misfit and iconic swimwear brand Speedo announced the upcoming debut of the Speedo Shine: a wearable fitness-tracker that, in addition to tracking steps, tracks swim strokes, cycling activity and sleep patterns.
That’s a pretty big development, if only because Fitbit doesn’t currently have a model that tracks swim strokes. FIT stock was down a few percent in late Tuesday trading on the news.
Where exactly does AAPL fit into all this?
Its Apple stores will be the exclusive retailer of Speedo Shine — a curious development considering Apple has a high-profile Fitbit competitor of its own in the Apple Watch.
As a proud Fitbit stock owner myself, I’m watching the Speedo Shine launch very carefully. Here’s what FIT bulls should know about the competition:
Speedo Shine Launches Sept. 1
As with any wearable device aspiring to gorge on chunks of market share, the upcoming $79.99 Speedo Shine syncs with your phone by way of the Misfit app, available on both Android and iOS devices. For whatever reason, Fitbit hasn’t yet penetrated the swimwear market — a fact that Speedo alludes to in its press release:
“Speedo Shine is the first device of its kind that was designed with swimmers in mind. Proprietary lap counting algorithms embedded in the device’s firmware track a swimmer’s lap count with industry-leading accuracy, and works for all stroke types.”
While FIT stock reacted negatively to the development, I can’t imagine that Fitbit won’t eventually get into this sub-vertical. Furthermore, Fibit’s market strategy of focusing on running and traditional fitness-tracking is only logical: Focus on the biggest market first, then go after the small-time stuff.
As a FIT stock bull, I’d be concerned if Fitbit didn’t quickly counter the move. I expect there will be at least one or two new product launches before the year’s end, and I’d be disappointed if one of them didn’t have a lap-counting feature like the Speedo Shine. I’m already a little miffed by the fact that Misfit outsells Fitbit in China, which CEO Sonny Vu claimed a few weeks ago.
The wearable fitness market is growing like wildfire, and it’s inevitable that Fitbit will lose some market share in the U.S., where it controls as much as 85% of the market. After all, hot markets attract rivals, and outside of the Speedo Shine, Fitbit faces competition from Garmin (GRMN), Jawbone, Apple, Google (GOOG, GOOGL) and many others.
But the Speedo Shine isn’t a Fitbit-killer by a long shot. Not with Fitbit boosting revenue and earnings per share by three and six times, respectively, last quarter.
Third-quarter results should provide some illumination, as they’ll include one month in which Fitbit goes head-to-head against the Misfit Speedo Shine. I’m still a believer in FIT stock, and unless the company fails to release a waterproof swim-tracking device by the end of the year, I’ll be bullish for some time.
As of this writing, John Divine was long shares of FIT stock and AAPL stock. You can follow him on Twitter at @divinebizkid or email him at email@example.com.