A Fitbit is a small accountability buddy attached to your wrist. It measures and monitors the number of steps you take, your heart rate, calories burned, sleep behavior, weight, and water intake. If you want, it can also measure menstrual cycles (like a period tracker) and how many floors you go up and down.
Despite being a leader in wearable tech, the Fitbit brand isn’t free from both strengths and weaknesses. It can be improved, and hopefully will, before the threats ruin the brand. This SWOT analysis of Fitbits goes into the details of the problems and benefits of this well-known fitness brand.
Strengths of Fitbits
Access to tons of data.
Data is the Fitbits’ biggest strength. From your resting heart rate to an in-app food diary, you’re given access to several kinds of health-related information about yourself. When you want to know what you accomplished today or a week ago, you can check the app on your smartphone at any time. At the end of each week, Fitbit emails your cumulative stats of the week. This is why people who love data are obsessed with owning this device.
Competition amongst friends.
The watch connects wirelessly to the Fitbit app on your phone. From there, you create a profile which includes your stats, accomplishments (trophies you get for reaching goals), and the ability to connect with like-minded, health-conscious people. People who live for the competition can push themselves further after seeing what their friends have accomplished. If you don’t want people to see your accomplishments, you can easily make it private.
Apps for workouts and more.
This smartwatch can customize workouts. Although most Fitbits come with a Coach app (an integrated workout app created by Fitbit), you can download workout apps created by other companies too, such as the C25K running app.
Health isn’t just about getting off your feet either. The Fitbit Versa comes with a “relaxation” app; a 2 or 5-minute session that helps you to concentrate on your breathing. This is helpful for people who have anxiety or panic attacks.
A dozen fitbit watches to choose from.
You’ve several options of Fitbits to choose from; the Zip, Ionic, Alta HR, Charge 3, Versa… the list goes on and on. Each one is a little different, both in appearance, built-in app selection, and ability. For instance, according to Fitbit, the Versa can survive in waters 50 meters deep. And every hour it vibrates as a reminder to take 250 steps.
Not all Fitbits can go into water or has the hourly step reminder. And some Fitbits are more affordable than others. Having so many options is great for customers, but also makes it overwhelming when shopping for yourself.
Weaknesses of Fitbits
An Over-reliance on steps.
Although the Fitbit measures everything from your sleep schedule to calories burned, it only cares about steps for fitness. Steps are a simple and easy measurement, but they’re not the end-all to fitness. What about weight lifting? You’re likely to burn more calories when introducing resistance training into your routine, but you don’t take many steps doing it.
Other health indicators, like nutrition intake, body fat percentage, and body measurements should be retained as well.
More estimates than determinants.
Inaccuracy is a problem for all Fitbits. You’re told the total amount of steps and calories burnt per day. But the steps are measured not by a physical step, but by wrist movement. In fact, it’s possible to reach your step goal by sitting in one spot and fidgeting around. Likewise, if you’re walking and stop moving the wrist the watch is on, it’ll have difficulty counting your steps.
The “calories burned” section is just an estimate. Likely an overestimate. You shouldn’t take that number as gospel. And don’t eat back those calories; otherwise, you might overeat and gain the weight you’re trying to lose.
Too much comparison isn’t helpful.
The competition is a strength for some people, but a weakness for others. Comparing yourself to what your friends achieve is supposed to make you more fired up to work harder. It can cause burnout too.
It may lead you into a dark hole, where you feel inadequate and ‘less than’ for not keeping up with your friends. This can take the fun out of improving your health. You don’t want it to feel like a chore, otherwise you won’t continue with it.
Opportunities of Fitbits
More apps needed ASAP.
The Fitbit needs more apps. Although you’ve got a collection of free and paid apps, it’s nothing compared to the ultimate competitor: Apple. The Apple watch offers dozens of apps, ranging from Spotify to fun exercises. The Fitbit options look like slim pickings in comparison.
Branch into new measurements.
Rather than relying heavily on steps, Fitbits should expand into monitoring other areas of health, such as nutrition intake and body measurements. Fitness isn’t just about moving (cardio); weight lifting is a huge part for men and women. Fitbits don’t have a way to take these measurements into account at the moment. This means they’re leaving out a segment of people who could become customers but have no need for the watch as is.
Threats of Fitbits
A big fruit problem.
Fitbit is one of the leaders in wearable tech. The other is the Apple watch.
For many people who want a watch for accountability, they hit social media and ask which is better: the Fitbit or the Apple watch? What you’re expecting to get out of your watch determines the answer, which isn’t good for Fitbit. They should be the answer, but they’re not.
Small guy competitors.
It’s not just Apple that fitbit needs to worry about. Smaller competitors are trying to break out into the wearable tech scene too. If they can offer the things that Fitbit doesn’t, they’ll be a headache for Fitbit sooner than later.
A Fitbit wants to know a lot about you. Especially your location. If you go for a walk or run, the app will ask you to turn the locations setting on your phone. Then, as you walk, the watch tracks you. Tack on knowing your age, gender, resting heartbeat, sleep patterns and you’ve got to wonder… is Fitbit using this information for more than just personal accountability? And if this information were to leak, what would that mean for the people affected?
All in all, the Fitbit is a well-known brand in the health community. Millions of users have and use one daily. And although it has issues with estimations of calories and focusing too heavily on step counting, it’s also an excellent way to track your progress while trying to get healthier.
Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash