Technology

Fitbit Inc Stock Tumbles After Earnings, Guidance Disappoints

Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT) stock plunged to a new all-time low on Tuesday following the disappointing guidance included with the company’s Q4 2017 earnings report. The wearables maker continues to have difficulties turning a profit, and promotional activity took a bite out of its device average selling price. Analysts generally remain on the sidelines with Fitbit stock. Several slashed their price targets following the Fitbit earnings release.

Fitbit reported non-GAAP losses of 2 cents per share, which was worse than the breakeven result that had been expected. Sales amounted to $571 million compared to the $589 million consensus and management’s guidance of $570 million to $600 million. Adjusted EBITDA was better than expected at $22 million, versus the consensus of $9 million.

Fitbit earnings fit stock

In a note following the Fitbit earnings report, Deutsche Bank analyst Sherri Scribner said she slashed her price target for the company’s stock from $6.50 to $5.50 per share and maintained her Hold rating. The company missed expectations for sales, largely because consumers generally preferred Fitbit’s more basic wearables over its new smartwatch, the Ionic. Margins also missed expectations due to the product mix and high promotional activity during the holiday quarter.

Fitbit shipped 5.4 million devices in Q4, which was a little more than the 5 million trackers the Street was expecting, Scribner noted. She said holiday demand for basic trackers was “healthy,” and the company’s blended average selling price grew 20% to $106 on the back of Ionic sales. Fitbit also said that 67% of device activations during the quarter were for new customers, an increase from 58% in Q3. Scribner said this does suggest that the wearables maker is reaching new customers.

However, the Fitbit earnings release also revealed that the device average selling price declined $3 sequentially to $102. U.S. sales fell 13% year over year, and the news just gets worse from here. Scribner noted that both the Q1 and fiscal 2018 guidance “significantly” missed expectations. Fitbit guided for $240 million to $255 million for Q1 2018 and non-GAAP losses of 21 cents to 18 cents per share. Consensus had stood at non-GAAP losses of 9 cents per share on $340 million in sales.

Because the Ionic failed to appeal to the mass market, Fitbit expects Q1 sales to be weak. Margins will also be pressured during Q1 because of a product release planned for Q2. The company’s management expects to return to breakeven free cash flow in fiscal 2018, but Scribner feels that quarter-by-quarter visibility is simply “poor,” and it’s unclear whether the company will ever return to profitability.

Wedbush analyst Alicia Reese also cut her price target following the Fitbit earnings release, slicing it from $6.50 to $6 per share and reiterating her Neutral rating. She was slightly more positive than Scribner because she feels the company will become “more interesting” in the longer-term based on its progress in medical applications and the potential for recurring revenue from them.

However, she also said that the company didn’t offer enough detail for her to figure any recurring revenue into her model, and it isn’t expected to contribute much to this year’s estimates. She hopes to hear more about the potential for recurring revenues at the analyst day on March 29 and predicts potentially “meaningful” contribution from it as early as next year.

In addition to health applications and recurring revenue, Fitbit management said they’ll be taking another stab at smartwatches this year. The company plans to release a “family” of smartwatches this year with the goal being “mass appeal.”

Fitbit stock plunged by about 13% in intraday trading on Tuesday, falling to a new low of $4.67 per share.