Fitbit Sees Indian Market As Major Growth Driver

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 04, 2017


The US-based technology maker Fitbit Inc, is facing a rough phase in terms of falling sales and share price in its home ground, however the Indian market is one of its biggest growth drivers.

The company looks to increase its investment in terms of marketing, promotion and distribution.

According to recent IDC report, Fitbit moves up to third place in CY Q4 2016 as shipments grew 21.2 percent sequentially. GOQii and Xiaomi taking the first and the second slot. Growth in commercial segment, price discounts on certain devices are few key factors that drove Fitbit’s growth. Fitbit has balanced channel presence with offline contributing to almost half of its sales while online is exclusively catered by Amazon. The company is likely to build on this traction with more product launches in coming quarters and expected to make inroads into smartwatch category. “In some mature markets, our growth is slowing, but it doesn’t apply to India,” ET quoted Steve Morley, vice president and general manager of APAC at Fitbit as saying “As per GFK data, we have 82 per cent market share in the activity tracker market in India. This is not shipping, but actual sales data. Even if you consider every connected wrist devise, which also includes smart watches — a segment we don’t participate yet — activity trackers, running watches, etc., we control over 50 per cent market share in India.” 

Fitbit came to India in 2015 and its products were available exclusively via Amazon for two months. The company then took to offline retail and started selling the products at 600 stores including large format retailers like Crome and Reliance Stores. The company now sells its products through over 1000 stores across 90 cities.

“Now, we also have more than 300 independent shops selling our products. I firmly believe that our distribution needs to go up by at least five times. The reach of Amazon is unrivalled, but retail is also important. We have invested millions of dollars, and will continue to invest significantly to maintain the market leadership in India,” said Morley. 

Incidentally, Fitbit, which has maintained its dominance globally, has also faced one of its largest declines ever in the US market that is quickly approaching saturation for fitness trackers, according to global market intelligence firm International Data Corporation (IDC). 

The wearable devices market saw a sharp growth in 2016 and this traction is expected to continue even in 2017. Karthik J,Senior Market Analyst, Client Devices, IDC India said, “while wearable market is seeing some consolidation, several new vendors are expected to enter Indian wearable market. Basic wearable would continue to be key driver and especially sub $50 segment would see more action with new product launches from both existing and new vendors. Heart rate sensor would be a standard feature in most of the new launches. Commercial segment is also expected to grow further in coming quarters”.

“Smartwatch continues to be a niche offering as they struggle to be a mass market device due to premium pricing and limited and unclear value proposition to a broad base of potential users. But given the nascent stage of Indian wearable market, smartwatch to witness some growth in short term but how this form factor would evolve in terms of real world use case would decide the future for this product category”, adds Karthik J.

“Between July-December 2015 and July-December 2016, we have seen over 150 per cent growth in India. Even in the first quarter of 2017, there has been major increase. I would say Indians have really adopted this category,” Morley said. “We are becoming a part of the popular culture here, which is always a good sign.”