According to the initial sales figures for Fitbit’s second smartwatch, the company has shipped over a million Fitbit Versa watches since it went on sale in mid-April. This report adds to the encouraging indications by CEO James Park that the Versa watches had the best first-week sell-through of any wearable in the history of the company.
While the Ionic couldn’t turn around Fitbit’s ailing fortunes, the Versa is faring decidedly better. Although it may not be enough to make Apple break out in a cold sweat (Canalys estimated that Apple has shipped 3.8 million watches in Q1 2018) and doesn’t guarantee a similar number of end-user sales, it is still strong for a multi-platform smartwatch.
It also shows that Fitbit is willing to squawk about Versa shipments in the first place and presents a glimmer of hope that someone outside of Apple can have some real success in the smartwatch category. Companies tend to be quiet about smartwatch sales even when they’re successful — Fitbit clearly wants to show that the Versa isn’t struggling like the Ionic was.
Fitbit didn’t go into detail as to why it thought the Fitbit was shipping well, but noted that it had a “true mass appeal.” However, it doesn’t take much to figure out why. With the $199 price tag Versa is more accessible than the Ionic which costs $299. Also, Versa touts a friendlier design than its polarizing ancestor. And when you consider features like female health tracking (2.4 million people have added it to their Fitbit app, according to Fitbit), you have a genuinely competitive smartwatch that both undercuts key rivals and offers some unique features.
Fitbit’s women’s health tracker has been a success among early adopters. Among the 2.4 million people who added it to their app, 1.8 million users have added one or more periods to their calendar. This is definitely a sign that a feature like this was in-demand, but how many users will actually stick with the tracking after a month is another question entirely.
Experts ponder whether or not Fitbit can sustain this pace. Its rivals aren’t about to stay still, and we do not know if Fitbit will foster a broad app ecosystem (it currently has an array of 900 apps and custom watch faces). Still, the demand for Versa is more than Fitbit had to work with in the recent past, and it might be enough to turn around the company’s fortunes.