Fitbit is spending more than ever on building new products, and finally has something to show for it: two new fitness trackers in a range of fashionable styles, software updates and accessories for its smartwatches, and new in-app features.
The goal is to expand Fitbit's appeal to more consumers and make its products more attractive, engaging and, well, more wearable.
The two new activity trackers — available for preorder Monday — are updated versions of existing products that together account for 60 percent of sales. Fitbit is hoping that the new features will be enough to entice existing customers to trade up for the newest features and to tempt new customers to join the Fitbit family, said chief business officer Woody Scal.
The Fitbit Charge 2 heart rate and fitness band — which retails for $149.95 and priced at the same level as its predecessor — has a screen that is four times larger than its predecessor. It also adds two new major features: a guided breathing setting to promote mindfulness and relaxation, and a cardio fitness feature to let users see how fit they are, based on their individual profile, heart rate and exercise data. It gives them feedback on how to improve.
The model, which also nudges the user to get up and move around once an hour, comes in four standard colors with interchangeable bands that range from $29.95 to $179.95.
The Fitbit Flex 2 is also priced at the same level as its predecessor, $99.95. It's 30 percent slimmer, delivers notifications through vibrations and lights, and enables swimming tracking for the first time. The Flex 2 comes in a range of guises, including a swimproof band and a line of Vera Wang-designed jewelry.
The Alta and Blaze smartwatches are getting new straps designed by Public School, and high end designer Vera Wang. A software update delivers more detailed notifications from apps like Facebook, Gmail and Slack, has five new digital clock faces and gives the same reminders to get up and move featured in the Charge 2.
The company also released a new series of noncompetitive individual activity challenges called Fitbit Adventures, hoping to motivate users to reach health and fitness goals. With each step, users can virtually experience iconic landmarks and trails such as Yosemite National Park and the New York City Marathon. The company has found that users who participate in challenges on average move up to around 1 extra mile per day.
Though Fitbit sales surged to $586.5 million in the second quarter of this year, so did spending on research and development, which more than doubled. Operating expenses soared to $235.3 million, slicing into profits and raising concern about the company's long-term outlook. CEO James Park sought to reassure investors on the company earnings call on Aug. 2 by promising it would deliver more new products in time for the holiday season.
The stock is down around 50 percent this year, so it is fair to say the company has a lot riding on these new products.
With these sleeker fashion-conscious trackers and smartwatch accessories, the company is clearly targeting women and younger consumers. Fitbit dominates the wearables market but its lead is shrinking, according to the latest data from International Data Corporation. Fitbit had 25 percent of the market in the first quarter, down from 33 percent in year-earlier period.
The company's two biggest competitors in wearables are Xiaomi and Apple, which had 19 percent and 7.5 percent of the market, respectively, in the first quarter. With these new products, Fitbit may be borrowing from Apple's success in reaching new consumers by offering some of these accessories in three distinct, but familiar colors: Gold, silver and rose gold.
— With reporting from CNBC's Aditi Roy and Arjun Kharpal.