Fitbit responds to tumbling stock, defends the new Blaze smartwatch

fitbit-blaze-fitness-tracker-announced-at-ces-2016
Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends
Fitbit is not doing well on Wall Street, with its stock value dropping 35-percent in the past week, and-10 percent on Monday. Shareholders do not seem confident in the future of the company, even as it enters the crowded smartwatch market. Fitbit announced Blaze at the Consumer Electronics Show last week, a wearable that sacrifices some of the fitness features on the Surge for more smartwatch-like functionality.

Updated on 01-13-2016 by David Curry: Added Fitbit and analyst comments on stock price. 

“We can’t control what the public markets do with our stock price,” said a Fitbit representative in response. “Our focus continues to be on execution and designing innovative products and services that empower people around the world to reach their health and fitness goals. Despite the sensationalized headlines, we have seen tremendous excitement from retailers, consumers and media around Fitbit Blaze.” The statement shows the device won 16 awards at the Consumer Electronics Show, and goes on to mention its success on social media.

“The Blaze should be accretive (that’s financial talk for increasing growth, by the way) to Fitbit,” said Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty in a note to clients.”We think there should be minimal cannibalization of the $250 Surge since it’s still the only device that includes GPS. Potential buyers of the $130 Charge or $150 Charge HR may choose to pay up for the Blaze which has more features.”

The absence of built-in GPS and some other technical features makes the Blaze cheaper than the Surge, but less appealing to the fitness market. At the same time, the Blaze isn’t a fully fledged smartwatch, making it a hard sell for customers who want to check notifications and get directions. We doubt this is the only wearable coming from Fitbit this year, but it is a rough start for the company in the smartwatch space. At the moment, the Blaze is viewed as a $200 smartwatch without some of the key smartwatch features we’re used to seeing.

Fitbit isn’t the only company facing the wrath of Wall Street. Twitter, GoPro, and Etsy are all having a tough week, as referenced in a report by TechCrunch. However, these reversals don’t appear to be affecting the entire technology market, and the four companies mentioned have been underperforming in the past few months. However, the holiday season was apparently great for Fitbit, with its iOS app shooting to first place on Christmas Day, and staying there until December 28.

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