Fitness trackers have taken over our lives, gathering activity and data, and continuously letting us informed about the condition of our heart, among other features. However, a 2015 study by the NPD group has found that most wearable users abandon their devices after only 6 months.
WHOOP, the world’s most informative wearable is hoping to change that. On May 15, the company rolled out a monthly subscription service of $30 for its flagship Strap 2.0 data-tracking device.
The company also said it will no longer sell the WHOOP band as a standalone product, meaning from now on you’ll have to pay the $30 subscription fee if you want to get your hands (or wrists) on this device.
With a 6-month mandatory commitment, any user can have a membership in the so-called WHOOP community, according to Chief Executive Will Ahmed.
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Membership will enable users to track their best performances against compatible athletes, allowing them to push each other in their exercises even when they aren’t physically exercising together.
The hardware and analytics, which reports and suggests ideal workouts, recovery periods, and the correct amount of sleep your body needs are obtained from the five variables WHOOP’s wearable collects 100 times per second.
“We’ve now taken many learnings from the top performers and applied them to a consumer facing membership,” said Ahmed in a statement. “This is for a wider set of consumers — those that take performance seriously, whether that means securing a [personal record] on their next marathon, or improving their personal habits as a business executive on the road for work.”
The Boston-based company has an awesome list of customers among the elite American athletes. The fitness tracker has gotten approval for use in universal in-game for Major League Baseball, while also receiving a cooperation with the NFL Players Association to track recovery times among football players.
The app is used by a variety of NBA players, which could explain why Kevin Durant and David Stern are among the investors. WHOOP wearables are also used by Duke University Blue Devils Men’s Basketball team.
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WHOOP says its subscription plan is intended to make the Strap 2.0 more accessible. Certainly, the 6-month commitment for $180 is less than the original retail price. Subscribers can cancel the data service after 6 months, but they won’t have access to the data collected, although they can still keep the device.
Those who choose to continue the service after 16 months will end up spending more than they would if they had bought the device. Sadly, you can’t have the Strap 2.0 without subscription.
This raises the question: Are other wearable-tech manufacturers going to take the same approach? If all fitness trackers start enforcing subscription fee, they may look cheaper in the short term but will be much more expensive in the long run. And, that could bolster dropout rate rather than reduce it.