Well, this one's not a medical device to check your level of fitness. On the contrary, it's a fashion brand which tracks your state of health. Surprised? The California-based fitness tracking global brand Fitbit entered India in August this year and has been doing some aggressive marketing of its products. It launched a 360-degree campaign #Findyourfit along with its media partner ZenithOptimedia.
Launched globally last year, the commercial is currently being aired across all major television channels in India and is being amplified with print and digital. It has been executed by the San Francisco-based agency Argonaut.
Understanding the products
So, what's this all about? Fitbit offers a range of fitness trackers and wearable devices in three broad categories. The first is 'Everyday' which includes Charge (MSRP Rs 9,990), Flex (MSRP Rs 6,990), One (MSRP Rs 6,990) and Zip (MSRP Rs 3,990). The products in this category provide all-day activity tracking, real-time fitness stats, sleep-tracking and Caller ID. They track steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned, active minutes, sleep, and the number of floors climbed.
The company also offers Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale (MSRP Rs 9,990), a wireless device that tracks weight, BMI and body fat percentage over time, and syncs stats with online graphs and mobile tools that provide a long-term overview of progress.
Fitbit, which soft-launched in India with the online marketplace Amazon, finds the country at the cusp of a fitness revolution. Currently at a nascent stage, the Indian market holds immense opportunity for the fitness wearable category.
"While India is the largest diabetic capital of the world, 20 per cent Indians suffer from heart diseases, 33 per cent have hypertension, and 48 per cent of the population is overweight. One out of 10 cannot sleep well. India is, therefore, a huge potential market for Fitbit," she asserts.
The company is targetting consumers from SEC A, who reside in cities other than metros.
"Our mass media campaign comprises a TVC which will run for six weeks. It is complemented with a print campaign, along with a strong presence on social and digital. It's a 360 degree integration," informs Sood.
Fitbit is also leveraging on-ground activation (retail stores and shopping malls) to educate consumers about the devices and how it can help them stay fit.
In order to reach out to consumers, the company has tied-up with brick and mortar chains like Reliance Digital, Croma and Helios retail stores across the country. Sood is confident that while tech-savvy individuals will buy its products online, its growing brick and mortar distribution and on-ground activations will see a new set of consumers emerging. The company wants to reach out to consumers who reside in cities beyond the 'top 20 cities' and thus, grow its state-wise distribution, expand offline retailer network and provide the 'touch and feel' product experience to consumers.
Talking about price sensitive Indian consumers, Sood says the initial orders are in line with global trends and surprisingly, Indian consumers are buying its mid-to-high range devices.
"The heart rate monitoring device Charge HR is the best-selling product not just globally, but also in India," she reveals.
But Fitbit, is not alone in the market. Sensing a huge business opportunity, a number of players have entered the growing fitness tracking wearables and devices space in the country. Some prominent names include digital entrepreneur Vishal Gondal's GoQii which offers the fitness device for free for users who subscribe to the fitness advice service. The subscription service has three plans: Rs 3,999 for three months, Rs 6,999 for six months, and Rs 11,999 annually.
Xiaomi also offers a similar product called Mi Band, a fitness tracker with a 30-day battery life, priced at $15. The device can be synced with Android and iOS smartphones via Bluetooth. It has a number of sensors that monitor a user's fitness and sleep.
The Bengaluru-based personal health and activity tracker called GetActive tapp offers a clip-on fitness tracker with a sleep monitor called GetActive Slim, along with a fitness tracker.
Micromax has launched the Android compatible wearable fitness tracker band YuFit, priced at Rs 999. It allows users to sync their activity data and set alarms. The device uses two apps, YuFit and online fitness services provider HealthifyMe.
Meanwhile, Google also launched its health and fitness platform called Google Fit in June, this year. The platform provides app developers a single set of APIs that can be used to manage fitness data from apps and sensors on cross-platform devices and on wearables. Apple had also launched a similar Healthkit platform.
Speaking about the competition in the Indian market, Fitbit's Sood believes that smartphone makers are not their direct competition as their focus is not on the wearable segment.
"Their wearable is compatible only with their own devices, while Fitbit is compatible with more than 200 phones, across platforms. We have a more than 80 per cent market share in most of the markets we operate in. Fitbit, as a brand, has become more like a category. We are a wearable category, meant for health. This is our core strength and this is what consumers see as our differentiation," she says.
Globally, Fitbit has a strong hold in the fitness wearable segment. As per Fitbit's third quater financial summary for FY2015, the company has sold 4.8 million connected health and fitness devices. Its expected revenue in the current financial year is $1.8 billion. The company currently has a huge distribution network of over 45,000 retail stores and in more than 50 countries, India being its 55th market.
The company also sells its products through e-commerce partners like Amazon and its online store at Fitbit.com.
In India, however, the challenge is as unique as the inherent diversity here. Growing a user base in a country where the distribution is on a huge scale, and marketing and educating consumers with difference in languages, food habits and lifestyles is a Herculean task.
If Fitbit manages to work through this maze and tap the demographic potential, Sood is hopeful that it will translate into a lucrative business opportunity, given that India is in its top five priority markets.