1. Health is serious business: Steve Morley

Health is serious business: Steve Morley

With a growing focus on personal health and fitness, India has the potential to be a significant market for connected health and fitness devices.

By: | Published: May 2, 2016 5:41 AM

Fitbit sold 21.4 million connected health and fitness devices at year-end 2015. This San Francisco-based digital health firm, expects full-year 2016 revenue in the range of $2.4 to $2.5 billion, driven by new product introductions and geographic expansion. “The wearables market is growing at a very robust pace globally, and in India. It is going to maintain its momentum and witness a significant growth this year,” says Steve Morley, vice-president & general manager for Asia Pacific region at Fitbit. “India has the potential to be a significant market for connected health and fitness devices,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:

Do Indians have a growing interest in fitness devices?

Yes. This is largely because of the increasing focus on health and fitness in India today. Consumer lifestyle and demographics are rapidly changing, and health costs are only rising. In India, sleep monitoring, specifically, has been the most underestimated aspect of health for years now. Nevertheless, it’s significantly changing now. People have begun to realise the importance of having optimum amount and quality of sleep. Fitbit has been among the first to understand all elements of health and fitness, and have designed products as a result of that.

There is undoubtedly a growing interest in the connected health and fitness market. According to forecasts by the IDC, global wearables shipments are expected to grow over 6x between 2014 and 2019, representing a revenue opportunity of nearly $28 billion worldwide by 2019. We are in 2016, and can already see this significantly increasing. We intend to maintain and extend our position as the leading platform for connected health and fitness, helping people around the world meet their health and fitness goals.

How is the market growing in India compared to other markets in the Asian region?

We see growing demand for connected health and fitness

devices in India, based on the growing focus on personal health and well-being. We expect that our presence in India will help us to continue to drive the growth, scale and reach we have experienced. Moreover, we are also realising the tremendous opportunity in other APAC markets.

What kind of traction do you see for your products in India?

Fitbit understands there is no “one size fits all” option in fitness, as consumers have a wide-range of needs and preferences—from people interested in improving their health through everyday activities like walking to work, to more active consumers looking to maximise their fitness. The Fitbit platform combines connected health and fitness devices with software and services, including an online dashboard and mobile apps, data analytics, motivational and social tools, personalised insights, and virtual coaching through customised fitness plans and interactive workouts. The platform helps people become more active, exercise more, sleep better, eat smarter, and manage their weight. Fitbit offers variety within its family of health and fitness products that motivate consumers to stay active, live better and reach their goals.

What are your existing offerings?

The diverse range of Fitbit products, Fitbit Surge, Fitbit Charge HR, Fitbit Charge, Fitbit Flex, Fitbit One, Fitbit Zip and Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale, provides one common platform that empowers people with information, offering a fun and engaging experience, providing insights and guidance for users to get the most out of their devices and help them reach their health and fitness goals. We have now unveiled two new offerings—Fitbit Blaze and Fitbit Alta, and are thrilled to launch the two additions in India.

We have received such overwhelming response for our products, Charge HR is the best-selling product not just globally, but also in India. We are very happy with how people in India are responding to our products.

What sets Fitbit apart from the rest of the crowd?

Fitbit is a pioneer and leader in the connected health and fitness market, and remains true to its mission to empower people to lead healthier, more active lives by providing them with data, inspiration and guidance to reach their goals. Fitbit has a unique approach to health and fitness and has created a solution—the Fitbit platform—enabling people to be more active, exercise more, sleep better and help manage their weight. The Fitbit platform combines connected health and fitness devices with software and services, including an online dashboard and mobile apps, data analytics, motivational and social tools, personalised insights and virtual coaching through customised fitness plans and interactive workouts.

While health is serious business, Fitbit believes that users are more likely to reach your goals if you are encouraged to have fun, smile, and feel empowered along the way. This is what sets Fitbit apart, it’s fun and accessible brand, its large and engaged community, its product design and intuitive software, its broad compatibility across platforms, its wide-range of devices and its global distribution reach.

Globally as well as in India, what is the market outlook for wearable devices?

The wearables market is growing at a very robust pace globally, and in India. It is going to maintain its momentum and witness a significant growth this year, according to an IDC report.

According to a Digital Consumer Tech Survey 2014, consumers in India are ranked the highest in buying fitness trackers and smartwatches.

With a growing focus on personal health and fitness, India has the potential to be a significant market for connected health and fitness devices. India offers great potential for Fitbit given the growing focus on personal health and fitness and we believe the time is right to launch the brand here. We have seen that people in India have a growing interest in connected health and fitness devices that can help them lead healthier, more active lives. We expect that our expansion to India will help us to continue to drive the growth, scale and reach we have experienced.

What initiatives is Fitbit putting in place to gain customer traction in India?

We believe that there is a significant demand here for Fitbit based on the growing focus on personal health and fitness across India. We could not be happier with how the people of India are responding to Fitbit. We haveexpanded our retail network with the addition of partners (Vijay Sales and Jumbo) to our existing retail partners—Reliance Digital, Croma and Helios.

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