Someone famous once said, “..reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” and the same may apply to Fitbit despite an EBITDA loss of US$144k in Q4.2016.
I was going to make a witty attributional comment about Oscar Wilde but Mr Google correctly pointed me in the direction of Mark Twain’s famous words. Inconvenient facts! Sigh.
It can’t be great to lose money at Christmas. Haven’t we been told that Black Friday traditionally marked the time after which retailers made their profits? That obviously didn’t apply to smartwatch manufacturer Fitbit.
Furthermore they seem to have ‘mislaid’ an eye-watering quarter of a billion dollars worth of profits comparing FY2016 to FY2017 ie a drop of $360m EBITDA from 2016 to 2017. No doubt some bonuses will still have been paid as that’s normally how these things work.
Someone will have achieved a target somewhere if you look hard enough.
Plus; often the figures are accounted for in a way to take a quick hit on the bad news to make the performance of subsequent events rosier. That often happens before and after a new CEO, for example. Although Fitbit haven’t had any changes at the top that I’m aware of despite recently announcing that 5-10% of staff would be leaving. That typically means that people will be leaving who don’t run the company and who just work there; after all it was probably their fault rather than the fault of the leaders. (I’m just being cynical).
It’s not all doom and gloom for them though as ACTIVE users on a like-for-like basis (I assume L4L) went up from 16.9m to 23.2m.
But it will be doom if they don’t get their commercial act together pretty sharpish. They’ve gone out and ‘bought stuff‘ (Pebble/Vector) in order to boost their products and create an app store.
23m users is a great place to grow from. Let’s hope they do. But just look at the image above. Polar, with presumably much smaller resources turn out the rather awesome M600 (well, I think it is) and Fitbit have the dated-looking Surge/Blaze/Charges. Also a great place to grow from is Fitbit’s software which tends to be great both on the smartphone and online…well on ANY platform I try it on.
Here’s something along a similar vein if you want to read in a bit more depth explaining why 2017 will be Garmintastic rather than Fitbittastic. That post also talks a bit about 2020 suggesting that Fitbit could be one of the survivors as others go to the rails. But if Fitbit keep losing money at that rate then they will soon be gone.