Fitbit had a pretty good 2018. Its smartwatch business continued to grow, and its healthcare business, after the acquisition of Twine Health in 2017, grew by about 25%. Fitbit is the number 2 player in the smartwatch market, and while it may seem like little consolation when Apple is the far-and-away number one player, it’s something.
Fitbit is continuing this successful strategy with the launch of the Versa Lite. Selling price starts at $160, $40 cheaper than the normal Versa. And no, the Versa is not actually lighter or smaller — it has the same form-factor as its big brother. It also continues to offer sleep and exercise tracking, running on FitBit OS. But, unlike the Versa, there will be no Wi-Fi, NFC, music playback, swim tracking, or floors climbed tracking.
At $200, the Versa was already an entry level smart watch, so Fitbit has moved to lower the entry-point even more with this introduction. It’s not a bad strategy either: it seems like everyone has worn (or been offered) the bare-bones fitness trackers from the Inspire series for years now. They’re ugly and I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing one, but they’ve been in the $100 range for years, making them an affordable pickup for those who are wearable curious. The Inspire is also much thinner, meaning you could even wear it next to your traditional watch if you wanted. This isn’t the case with the Versa Lite, which is much closer, in form and function, to a true smartwatch.
Now that Fitbit is aiming to be something like a health platform, and not just a seller of smartwatches and fitness trackers, it’s a good move for them to try to get their wearables on as many people as possible. We all know how good Apple is at lock in, so once someone buys an Apple Watch instead of a Fitbit, they’ve probably lost that customer for life. Fitbit’s health platform play is their move to lock consumers into their platform. We’ll see if it works.
The Versa Lite comes in four colors, including a funky mulberry and marina blue. Something for everyone.
Check out Fitbit’s website for more.