The Sad Truth About Millions of Fitness Trackers

Fitness trackers are red hot. But here is the dirty little secret about many of the devices that have been sold so far.

The Sad Truth About Millions of Fitness Trackers Photo (cc) by Janitors

Fitness trackers have become so popular that one manufacturer was able to go public last month, debuting on the New York Stock Exchange. Fitbit’s stock has since more than doubled in price.

But the popularity of these wearable technologies could prove no more than a fad in the long run if user habits are any indication.

The Associated Press reports a trend of fitness-tracker users abandoning their devices:

Abandonment affects all manufacturers of fitness trackers, which are relatively cheap at about $100 and are commonly given as gifts. Fitbit gets the spotlight because it started trading publicly last month and has 76 percent of the U.S. market share by revenue, up from 64 percent a year earlier, according to the NPD Group.

Rock Health, which provides funding and full-service support to health care technology startups, recently analyzed the information Fitbit released for the first quarter of this year.

Rock Health concluded in a blog post that Fitbit’s limited data suggest that more than 10 million Fitbit devices are inactive. That number represents more than 50 percent of the devices Fitbit has ever sold.

The blog notes that “it cannot be definitively stated that the great majority of Fitbit devices sold before 2014 are no longer used, but any other conclusion seems improbable.”

Malay Gandhi, Rock Health managing director, writes:

Objectively, Fitbit represents a tremendous growth story. … The question for investors is how long the market will continue to grow at this rate, and whether Fitbit can execute on growing engagement before it approaches peak wearable, i.e., the number of devices sold per year reaches saturation.

To learn more about fitness trackers and similar technology, check out “5 Hot Wearable Technologies.”

Have you ever used a fitness tracker? Let us know how long you used it and if you think it was worth the cost. Leave a comment below or on Facebook.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More

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