FitBit (FIT) is set for a 30-plus million share IPO on Thursday — and the market looks ready to get some exercise buying them up. FIT makes six different versions of wearable, wired fitness trackers — modern pedometers that track everything from steps taken to sleep patterns. It makes money selling the devices, and also by offering premium upgrades. Two big questions surround the future of the company. First, is it a fad? Will enough people continue to be as curious about the effects of their everyday regimens once the novelty wears off? (Critical here is whether FitBit can also, in addition to consumer penetration, become a standard in healthcare protocols.) And second, if it’s not a fad, can FitBit dominate the market? Or does Apple Watch and other wearables encroach on its territory, making FitBit’s domain just a small accessory in a larger data set people can access?
The first question depends on whether potential users like Sarah, the healthyhomeecomist, will be adopters. For now Sarah presents a contrary view, which investors will hope doesn’t take root. “Exercise is primarily about movement, relaxation and stress reduction,” she writes in a post about why she’s not a FitBit fan. “It frees the mind from the cares of the day for a short period of time. Adding a lot of data and personal activity tracking to the mix is decidedly un-relaxing to me. I don’t want my every breath, step and heartbeat chronicled, tracked and categorized.”