Fitbit shifts focus to subscription model for personalized health features ahead of Versa 2 smartwatch launch

Fitbit has unveiled its latest plan to offer its smartwatch users a more impactful experience and compete with Apple Watch with its Fitbit Premium subscription plan. The new offering is focused on personalized health recommendations for diet, exercise, and sleep and comes just ahead of the company’s new Versa 2 smartwatch launch next month.

As noted by TechCrunch, Fitbit has found itself in a tough spot as Apple Watch has dominated the full-featured smartwatch segment while Chinese companies have been eating up the company’s share of the budget fitness band market. Fitbit Premium comes as a way to create recurring services revenue for the company with the pitch of giving Fitbit customers impactful, personalized health recommendations.

Fitbit Premium is priced at $10/month or $80/year and includes nine different health and fitness programs covering sleep, diet, and exercise.

What does $10 a month get you? Custom insights. That’s the promise here. Bespoke health and sleep information that goes deeper than what users of Fitbit’s free app get. The core of the offering is nine guided health and fitness programs, with names like Intro to Healthy Habits, Get More Zzz’s, Habits for Restful Sleep, Get Active, Beginner Running, Run Training, Understand Calories, Kick Your Sugar Habit and Kick Your Salt Habit.

Fitbit CEO, James Park, summed up the service as a “one-stop shop” for health and diet to TC.

“The quick pitch is that it’s a one-stop shop that gives you all of what you really need to eat better, become more active, sleep better,” CEO and co-founder James Park told TechCrunch. “And it’s a service that’s tightly integrated with your Fitbit device. And so with a user base of over 27 million active users, definitely for our user base, it’s a really compelling solution.”

Notably, a portion of what Fitbit is offering with its subscription are features that Apple Watch includes for free, like the custom “nudges and notifications.”.

“A lot of the value that we’re trying to provide as well is that the programs provide and adapt dynamically without you having to really do anything,” says Park. “And we’re trying to provide more nudges and notifications that remind you, throughout the course of the day or through your program, what things you should be doing.”

However, one area that Apple Watch is lagging behind Fitbit is with native sleep tracking. It may be 2020 before we see the functionality built-in to Apple’s wearables.

Fitbit Premium will be arriving this fall and the company’s Versa 2 smartwatch is set to launch next month on September 15, just after Apple’s expected iPhone and Apple Watch event on September 10. The company is using an email sign-up to let users know when it’s available.

The Versa 2 comes with a more powerful processor than the original Versa and features an OLED screen, five-day battery life, Amazon Alexa support, native sleep tracking, and more.

Pre-orders are open now for the Versa 2 starting at $200 direct from Fitbit. A special edition for $230 comes in two variants and includes both a woven and classic band in addition to a 3-month trial of Fitbit Premium. Amazon product listings for the new smartwatch have popped up as well.


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