Fitbit launched its answer to the Apple Watch on Monday, and initially, investors seem somewhat convinced that there’s hope for this wearable. The Fitbit Ionic smartwatch headlined the long list of announcements the company made on Monday, which include a set of headphones, a smart scale, and even a subscription-based fitness coaching app.
Analysts are generally taking a wait-and-see approach to these new products before deciding what to do with their stock price targets and estimates.
Will shoppers pay $300 for the Fitbit Ionic?
Thus far, Fitbit has had limited success with its efforts to push into smarter wearables with the Blaze and Surge, and as a result, management has stressed that 2017 will be a transition year. The announcement of the Fitbit Ionic wasn’t a surprise because the company has said it would release a smartwatch in plenty of time for the holidays.
The Ionic is Fitbit’s first true smartwatch, and it’s priced at $300, or about $70 lower than the second-generation Apple Watch. The smartwatch will be in stores in October and includes heart rate sensors, GPS, water resistance, support for payments and third-party apps, and notifications. The company claims that the battery will last more than four days, which is particularly interesting because of how weak most smartwatch batteries have been.
The Fitbit Ionic will run on the operating system developed by the company itself, rather than Android or another OS, and developers will be able to create their own apps for it using the software development kit.
Wait and see what happens with the Fitbit Ionic
Analysts who have been on the sidelines when it comes to Fitbit stock are remaining on the sidelines for now. Deutsche Bank analyst Sherri Scribner reiterated her Hold rating but found several things to like about the Fitbit Ionic. She likes the fact that the company has chosen to keep the smartwatch in the health category because that is where its reputation was created.
She also likes that the company chose to remain agnostic as far as platforms go by creating its own and remarked on the lengthy battery life of more than four days. She also likes the support for payments, GPS and other features that are commonly found in smartwatches. Even though it is late to the party, she feels that Fitbit might be able to take share in the $10 billion smartwatch industry because the market is still in its early stages.
Monitoring demand trends for the Fitbit Ionic
Wedbush analyst Alicia Reese is also unwilling to commit to Fitbit stock just yet because she’s concerned about demand trends for the company’s products in the long term. In the near term, she is now more positive after the announcement about the Fitbit Ionic. She noted that the launch timing is earlier this year than last year, and she feels that the Ionic is a good fit for the company’s core fitness-focused market.
However, she wants to see what demand for the Fitbit Ionic looks like during the holidays before deciding whether to become more constructive on the company’s stock. She believes Fitbit will be able to take some share of the smartwatch market from Apple, Samsung and Garmin, but she also expects competition to be fierce during the holidays. Of note, the Apple Watch has climbed through the ranks quickly, helping to push Fitbit down to third place among wearable makers.
Fitbit stock jumped on Monday and is up by about another 1% on Tuesday, climbing as high as $6.07 a share.