Fitbit App Growth
There have been a few stories circulating over the last week about how Fitbit’s app has passed through 50million downloads, which is an interesting yet opaque milestone. No doubt Fitbit is continuing to grow in SOME SENSE behind this headline figure which, by definition, doesn’t reflect the number of actual users – but that number of actual users is hard to pin down in any case, nor do downloads reflect Fitbit’s profitability, cashflow or longterm independent viability.
I look at stats for app growth once a year (usually in January, link below) and base my figures on the number of reviews. I’m not sure EXACTLY what that metric means but if it goes up and if it goes more positive then that’s a good thing, right ?!? Anyway, I thought I would see what had happened to MY metric for Fitbit in June just to check that Fitbit really is growing as the other stories suggest it is.
Fitbit a PR Fact Check
In January this year, I recorded Fitbit’s downloads myself (in my little spreadsheet), at the time they were classified in the 10m-50m category. Yet now, here is an image showing the reported INSTALLS and indeed, as you can see, Fitbit installs according to Google HAVE exceeded 50 million.
Fact 1: Fitbit Installs have definitely gone up a level.
Fact 2: As at 5th January 2020, adidas Runtastic, Nike RC, Samsung Health, Under Armor Endomondo and Fitbit (5th) had the most number of reviews of their Android apps, in that order.
If I look at the number of INSTALLS just for those 5 companies (including Fitbit) then Fitbit would be at least 3rd and perhaps 2nd behind adidas Runtastic. Although if I add in and consider apps lower down on my REVIEWS league table, then some of them probably do have more installs than Fitbit for technical reasons…#ItsComplicated and I’m busy.
Despite everything, something GOOD is DEFINITELY happening to Fitbit.
Fact 3: Then if I look at MY #Reviews data as of June 2020, I see that Nike, Samsung and Fitbit have all grown the number of reviews by about 13% so far this year, which is great and which exceeds the growth of adidas (6%), Endomondo (7%) and Asics (2%). STRAVA and Garmin Connect don’t quite get a look in here, they are further down the table.
That 13% growth for Fitbit this year is interesting as reflects an increase of ACTUAL ENGAGEMENT with the app/product and when we are talking about 100’s of thousands of reviews it’s a figure that is hard to be scammed in any meaningful way.
Fact 4: A final point is that the Fitbit app rating of 3.7/5.0 is unchanged from earlier in the year. Thus Fitbit’s ‘growth’ in my stats has probably not been motivated by any underlying change in the user experience with the Fitbit app.
What’s The Deal?
Clearly, the world has got a bit keener on fitness due to CV19. A good, initial guess would be that many people have simply preferred to install a cheap or free app on their smartphone to augment their sport and activity monitoring. Fair enough, that explains most of the larger increases I mentioned earlier.
Except…fitbit sell watches and bands. So they must be selling more of their hardware as well…right? A: Probably and you might have expected they sold 13% more in line with that same percentage increase in reviews.
Fact 5: Yet, Canalsys’ shipments data for Q1.2020 shows negative 21% shipments growth compared to the same quarter in the previous year and the April 2020 Financials from Fitbit were not so great either.
Maybe these stats can be interpreted to say that perhaps end-user retail sales are increasing (hence app installs and reviews increase) by larger amounts than factory shipments. Is it possible that retailer inventories are being run down, as discounting increases sales and restrictions of supply exist because of CV19 supply chain disruptions?
Another explanation could be that more people are brushing off the dust from their Fitbit that’s been in the drawer for a few years and installing the Fitbit app on a ‘new’ phone that they hadn’t previously used – that’s possible but it’s a pretty tenuous argument to explain the sheer size of the change in the number of reviews.
So. I’m confused by the magnitude of Fitbit’s growth in the installed apps, growth in the app reviews whilst the actual sales numbers don’t look equally as rosy.
On a totally different note, we should find out on July 20th whether or not the EU let Google buy Fitbit. The deal is FAR from a foregone conclusion and the EU generally are wary of the US tech giants and their dominance. To imagine that there is no political influence in the legal process might perhaps be a little naive. Perhaps lobbying by French and Scandinavian companies might thwart the deal? If so I still contend that the future for Fitbit is not great at all…probably terminal for the current owners. #CashFlowBaby