Fitbit (NYSE:FIT) announced four new devices yesterday, including a lower-priced version of its Versa smartwatch, dubbed the Versa Lite Edition.
The theme was affordability and the targets were Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Samsung and Xiaomi. The market reacted positively to the move, with Fitbit stock closing up 1.86%.
Fitbit Launches 4 New Wearables
On March 6, Fitbit announced the launch of four new devices. The focus of this release was affordability, as shown in the company’s press release intro:
“The wearables category continues to evolve and grow, with global shipments of wearable devices forecasted to reach 189 million units by 2022, up from 125 million units in 2018, according to IDC research. While growth is being driven by smartwatches, trackers are expected to remain an important part of the category overall. Fitbit believes this rapid growth provides a large opportunity to bring new consumers to the category by offering both smartwatch and tracker form factors that feel more accessible and are affordably priced.”
The new devices are the Versa Lite Edition smartwatch, the Inspire and Inspire HR fitness trackers and the Ace 2 fitness bands for kids. Fitbit watchers will notice that all of these names are familiar — even though two of the new products have never been released to the public.
Fitbit Versa Lite Edition
The marquee release is the Fitbit Versa Lite Edition.
This is a smartwatch based on the popular Fitbit Versa, minus a few features, offering bright new colors, and selling for $40 less. At $159.95, the Versa Lite Edition has the key features of the Versa, including 4+ day battery life, continuous heart monitoring, female health tracking, activity and sleep tracking, and notifications. It’s also compatible with Versa apps, watch faces and accessories such as watch straps. The new colors are Marina Blue, Mulberry, Lilac and White.
What does it lack compared to the more expensive original? The Versa Lite’s interface is driven by a single button instead of three, it lacks NFC for Fitbit Pay, there is no onboard music storage and it can’t track more advanced activities like swimming.
Fitbit has clawed its way back from some dark times based on sales of the Versa. The company sold an estimated 2.3 million smartwatches in Q4 and was the world’s second largest vendor of smartwatches in 2018.
The cheapest Apple Watch Series 4 starts at $399, and Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch Active is priced at $199.99, so the Fitbit Versa Lite is positioned to continue driving sales to budget-conscious smartwatch shoppers.
Fitbit Inspire and Inspire HR (and Ace 2)
The Inspire and Inspire HR are “new” but you may have heard about them a month ago. Fitbit released these low-priced fitness trackers “exclusively through Fitbit corporate, wellness, health plan, and health systems partners and customers of their organizations, participants, and members.”
The pressure is on to pick up the consumers who don’t want a smartwatch — either because of cost or because they don’t want the size, extra features or constant battery charging. Xiaomi has been giving Fitbit a tough battle with cheap trackers like its Mi Band, and Samsung is getting into the game with the $99 Galaxy Fit and even lower priced Galaxy Fit e-fitness bands.
Fitbit already has the Inspire and Inspire HR, so why not release them to the public? At $69.95 $99.95 respectively they have the features most people want including 5-day battery life, sleep and fitness tracking, a water resistant design, touchscreen display and smartphone notifications. The Inspire HR also offers connected GPS functionality, constant heart rate monitoring and goal-based exercise modes.
The company also announced the Ace 2, a $69.95 followup to its Ace fitness tracker for kids. It gets a price cut from the original, a bigger protective bumper and is marketed at children aged six and up.
What Wasn’t Announced: Some Trackers Were Axed
While it wasn’t mentioned in the press release, after the announcement the Alta, Alta HR, Flex 2 and Zip trackers disappeared from Fitbit’s website.
The Inspire and Inspire HR essentially replace all these devices, offering an affordable fitness tracker with a display. In addition the Inspire line can be popped out of its band and into an optional clip, to be worn attached to clothing like the Zip. Even better from a logistics perspective, by going with the Inspire and Inspire HR for both corporate and consumer customers, Fitbit can simplify its lineup…
Look for the new Fitbit Versa Lite Edition, Inspire and Inspire HR, and Ace 2 to land in stores later this month, with the Versa Lite currently available for pre-order.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.