It’s hard out there for a fitness tracking company. Apple Watch dominates the conversation, and anyone looking for a fitness-first solution seems to gravitate towards Fitbit. I realized tonight the secret to their success: ubiquity.
My son and I were in the local mall to ride the “essalators” (escalators, aka the best free ride for a toddler ever), so I saw a lot of stores and kiosks. We started in Macy’s, where alongside $6,000 watches was a double-sized display of the entire Fitbit line. Then we headed to the Microsoft Store, where they had a whole accessories section for the Fitbits, along with a lonely token Microsoft Band. Brookstone, Verizon, a random T-Mobile kiosk, all had a ton of Fitbit stock very prominently displayed. That’s just what I spotted while wandering, and I am sure I missed one or two more stores.
Aside from the loneliest Microsoft Band in the world, I didn’t see a single competitor to the Fitbit on display anywhere. It is probable that the average consumer doesn’t realize there’s competitors to Fitbit out there! After all, if you have a gift card to Brookstone, or one of the 25,000 Macy’s coupons floating around, and you want a fitness tracker, you’re buying a Fitbit. And even if a shopper leaves the mall and goes to Target, or Best Buy, or Amazon, and decided to get a tracker, what’s more likely: That they’ll look closely at Jawbone, Garmin, or Misfit, or that they’ll think “I don’t know what a Jawbone is but I see Fitbit everywhere. Better get that one.”
Basically, Fitbit is so ubiquitous they get two benefits out of it: there’s a slew of points of sale, and every time someone walks through Macys or checks out a massage chair at Brookstone, they see Fitbit’s name and products. It’s no surprise Jawbone is laying off employees and Misfit was sold to Fossil; you can’t compete when your competitor is literally on every street corner!