Here me out on this… it’s not a knock against Fitbit, Inc. It’s not even a knock against those who are reading this while wearing a Fitbit product. At least not necessarily.
My bombastic proclamation is based on the sample group of the five immediate people I can think of who own one of these devices. Two of them seem to be making great use of all that Fitbit has to offer. One of them wears it as fashion accessory. The other two seem to think that just owning a Fitbit will somehow make them more fit.
The Friendly Competitors
Two of my old high school buddies are what I would call ideal Fitbit users. Both of them regularly participate in the challenges that the platform presents them to stay motivated and in shape.
Over lunch recently one of them lamented how they walked from Toronto’s International Airport in Mississauga all the way to Scarborough—a six hour walk according to Google Maps—and was still beaten in their daily step count by one of their Fitbit friends. The other admitted that more than once he’s run up and down the stairs a few times before leaving his office to ensure his daily minimum of 10,000 steps.
The examples above may be a bit excessive, but they demonstrate the effectiveness of Fitbit challenges for these two subjects.
Then there’s my sister in law; she wears a Fitbit but I’ve honestly no idea why. She’s not unhealthy but doesn’t regularly exercise, either—as a realtor and mom she’s just a naturally active person. She recognizes that I’m the de facto tech expert of the extended family (#humblebrag) yet she’s never brought up the subject of her Fitbit. Ever.
I can only guess, based on her shopping habits, that she wears it as a fashion accessory. “Oh, you have a Fitbit? Me too! Just don’t ask me what it does…”
Finally there is the couple who I’d say are acquaintances of my girlfriend and I. We don’t see them regularly but are connected through social media. During one of our last in-person get-togethers the wife went on and on about the wonders of Fitbit, but I see zero evidence of either of them actually using the device. On Twitter and Facebook all I see are decadent foodie pics—poutine at Sugar Shacks in the winter and fried concoctions at the CNE in the summer. As you can imagine, both husband and wife are a little on the heavy side.
So out of my sample group of friends, family and acquaintances less than 50% of them are actively using the platform. Unlike your typical two-year gym contract, entry to the Fitbit ecosystem can be had for less than $100. But just like a gym membership you actually have to use the damn thing to see any benefit.