Fitbit shares rose today following a solid earnings report from Best Buy and a bullish analyst report from Longbow. There was also a bullish post on Seeking Alpha which focused on whether Fitbit could be, get this, the next Apple. All in all, not a bad day for Fitbit as the wearables maker’s stock jumped more than 3% to close at $14.88 on Tuesday.
Fitbit has international opportunities
Longbow analyst Joe Wittine said in a report dated August 23 that he is increasing his estimates for Fitbit based on his review of the international opportunities the company faces. He noted that about 70% of the roughly 50 million fitness trackers the company has sold thus far were sold in the US. Looking out to the long term, he estimates the potential of the company’s international opportunity at 109 million incremental units. He added that this estimate “conservatively assumes a substantial haircut to the ‘15% of Smartphones’ attach rate FIT enjoys in the U.S.” currently.
However, he doesn’t believe matching the 15% attach rate in the U.S. to Fitbit’s international opportunity is “practical.” In order to capture cultural factors in international markets and “maintain conservatism,” he slapped a cap on each of five countries’ opportunities at the iPhone’s relative share of the smartphone market.
Wittine compared Fitbit’s brand to Apple’s brand, calling it “a similar higher-priced U.S. brand that will encounter most of the same global competitors,” including Samsung, Xiaomi and Huawei. He came up with the 109 million-unit result (given above) using this approach and going country by country. He assumed a 9% attach rate in Europe’s Core 5 countries (U.K., Germany, France, Spain and Italy) and an 8% attach rate in Asia’s Core 5 countries (China, Australia, India, Japan and Korea). For the non-U.S. Americas Core 5 countries (Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile), he assumed a 5.5% attach rate.
Wittine has a Buy rating and $20 price target on Fitbit.
Is Fitbit the next Apple?
Interestingly, he wasn’t the only one who drew a comparison between Fitbit and Apple. Seeking Alpha contributor Bull & Bear Trading considers Fitbit to be the “leading pioneer of the wearables computing ecosystem.” He added that the company’s international expansion isn’t priced into its stock as its forward PE is only 11.
He walks the reader through technology history, demonstrating how the first mover in new tech categories have an advantage because they can often take some of the cash flow they got in the early days and reinvest it into more research and development to keep pulling further ahead. He also draws comparisons with Apple at the time when the Apple Computer was public only 18 months after its initial public offering in 1980. The iPhone maker wasn’t a hit with investors after the IPO either, and neither was it always a “superstar company with a corresponding stellar stock price performance.”
He goes on to note that history often repeats itself in the stock market and suggests that in the wearable market, Fitbit could end up repeating what Apple did decades ago with the PC.
Fitbit also has Best Buy to thank
And then there was Best Buy’s strong quarterly performance which probably also served to boost Fitbit shares today as the electronics retailer cited strong adoption of health and wearable devices. Best Buy shares soared by more than 19% to close at $39.23 on Tuesday. The retail chain posted $8.53 billion in sales and adjusted earnings of 57 cents per share, which beat the consensus of 43 cents per share. Comparable store sales increased 0.8%, beating the consensus of a decline of 0.6%.
Best Buy’s results also likely drove a small increase in GoPro shares, which rose more than 2% to close at $15.51 on Tuesday.