Commentary

Wearable Fitness Tracker Activity: Fitbit 73%, Under Armour 7%; Brand Messaging Tags Along

Many people are attracted to wearable fitness trackers with the intention of using the device to help measure and track various aspects of their health.

But over time, many new features and capabilities got added to the ecosystem around fitness trackers, with more entities clamoring for a piece of the consumer’s time and attention.

The fitness tracker itself essentially captures and records the basic data, such as exercise time, heart rate, steps taken and the like, and transmits the info to a smartphone over Bluetooth.

But now brands are involved in the action, such as by rewarding consumers for their activity.

For example, a Fitbit device can be linked to the Walgreens Balance Reward program so that points at Walgreens are accumulated for walking or running, to be cashed in later at any Walgreens store.

And calories and diets can be tracked on other apps, such as myfitnesspal, which can be used with Jawbone fitness trackers. (I wear both Fitbit and Jawbone fitness trackers, primarily to constantly compare and link to external benefits.)

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The obvious question is whether consumers who get a fitness tracker stick with them. You likely know someone who got a wearable fitness tracker, as a gift or for some other reason, and after a period of time took it off and tossed it into a drawer somewhere.

However, a new study indicates that more people than not are sticking with it.

The growth of active, daily users of wearable fitness trackers grew, according to an analysis of a U.S. panel of millions of mobile device users conducted by 7Park Data.

The fastest growth was by Under Armour Record. Here are the growth rates in app activity from the first quarter of this year compared to the same time last year:

  • 607% -- Under Armour Record
  • 194% -- Garmin Connect
  • 124% -- Fitbit
  • 42% -- Strava

Of course, some of those measured started with a much larger base before the growth was measured.

For example, all studies show Fitbit in a commanding first place lead among wearable fitness trackers and this study is no exception. By share of minutes used, here’s the breakdown of usage in the U.S. this year:

  • 73% -- Fitbit
  • 7% -- Under Armour
  • 7% -- Jawbone (Up)
  • 5% -- Nike
  • 4% -- Strava
  • 4% -- Adidas
  • 1% -- Asics

So it looks like many who put that fitness tracker on the wrist tend to keep it there, at least when not having to be charged, still a small annoyance.

But as more activity occurs, it can trigger messaging from a brand not directly related to the fitness tracking brand.

For example, when a certain number of steps are reached while wearing a Fitbit, a congratulatory text messaging can come from Walgreens, which provides added benefit by bonus points, thus driving the consumer to the store.

More significantly, the Walgreens approach seamlessly integrates its messaging into the wearable portion of The Internet of Things.

2 comments about "Wearable Fitness Tracker Activity: Fitbit 73%, Under Armour 7%; Brand Messaging Tags Along".
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  1. Robin Caller from LOLA GROVE, March 28, 2016 at 5:38 p.m.

    My Fitbit has a 'blister'. I got nothing so much as a 10% discount on some band-aids from them. What's going wrong?

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, March 28, 2016 at 6:31 p.m.

    Maybe you need to put more miles on it, Robin.

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