Global market leader in fitness devices, the San Francisco-headquartered Fitbit Inc, officially entered the Indian market on Tuesday. The company, which has grown more than 100 per cent during the first half of 2015, aims to become a market leader in India, too. Fitbit’s products have been priced at a premium compared to its competitors here, and the company has a long path to travel. Fitbit global chief revenue officer Woody Scal discusses with Arnab Dutta the company’s strategy and focus in the new market. Edited excerpts:
You have been selling through Amazon in India for the past few months. What prompted you to enter directly?
Our products offer data and solution for health-related problems. Studies have shown India tops the list of diabetic people. One third of India’s population is hypersensitive and 30 million are obese. With increasing smartphone penetration, our products can cater to an important market for products that provides solutions for health problems. As people become more aware of health risks, demand for such devices will go up. In 2011, we sold products worth $14 million and in 2014, sales touched $745 million.
How do you expect to succeed in a price-sensitive market like India, while cheaper products are already available?
Our unique selling point is innovation and our products provide holistic health reports — tracking ones activity round the clock. If you recharge the device every 18 hours, it will not serve that purpose. Second, many products can only be synced to one brand of handset, which really limits the experience.
That is also a strategy to increase sales, but Fitbit apps can be used in all operating systems. Third, low-end products are relatively simple. So, as people start taking this seriously, they will look for more technologically-advanced products. And, we need to make them aware of the real benefits for advanced products.
How do you plan to make people aware?
It’s our job to educate people. While, our products are available in Amazon from this summer, we are offering these in retail stores of Reliance Digital, Croma and Helios, too. We want people to experience our products before buying. Everywhere in the world, we partner sellers who are willing to educate people.
Opening a thousand stores without considering customers’ awareness will not work for us. We are currently offering a few hundred stores only in premium locations, apart from continuing our exclusive relationship with Amazon.
Can you emphasise your promotional and advertising strategy?
Globally, we have done all forms of advertising. We have worked with private and charitable firms, insurance companies, wellness programmes, influencers and celebrities. This is a very important part of our business. We are making a big investment in India and you will see a lot promotional activities in the coming days. Fitbit even tied up with various companies, who are concerned about their employees’ fitness, and want to help them become more active and lead a healthier live.