Fitbit’s Q2 financial results are out, and while the company was celebrating the success of the Fitbit Versa this time last year, it hasn’t been able to repeat the trick 12 months on.
In short, it seems the Fitbit Versa Lite – a very likeable, cut-down version of the original – hasn’t set the world alight in the same way as the original, leading to a 27% drop in year-on-year smartwatch sales.
With the Versa Lite failing to pull its weight, the company was left relying on cheaper trackers to push revenue, and they grew 51% on this time last year. But as Engadget points out, that means the company needed to sell 31% more devices to add just $14.3 million in revenue. In all, products introduced in the last 12 months – the Charge 3, Ace 2 and Inspire range, as well as the Versa Lite – were responsible for 68% of revenue.
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“In Q2, we made progress transforming our business and generated revenue of $314 million, up 5%,” said CEO and co-founder James Park in the accompanying earnings call. “However, our sales mix was different than we anticipated. Versa Lite sales did not meet our expectations, leading to a contraction of quarterly smartwatch revenue growth. We subsequently reduced our Versa Lite sales expectations for the remainder of the year and are lowering our full year 2019 revenue and gross margin guidance.”
That means investors are being warned that the company will make $50 million less than predicted in 2019, and it looks like the Versa Lite is the scapegoat. “We feel confident we are taking the steps needed to ensure what happened with Versa Lite does not happen again in that we reduce the sales impact of a single product,” Park said. Specifically, the company says it is going “to shift our new product introduction cadence back to innovation from value.” In other words, no more cut-down smartwatches
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It’s a pity the Fitbit Versa Lite didn’t do as well as it deserved to. As Park noted in his call, it got positive reviews from fans and the media alike with its sensible cuts and £150 price point. But at only £50 less than the uncut and often further discounted Versa, it just wasn’t enough to turn heads in large numbers.
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