Skift Take

If Alphabet does indeed buy Fitbit, it'll be great news for the tracking brand. To keep in step with Apple Watch, though, Fitbit will have to ramp up its innovation. Needless to say, Alphabet has its work cut out for it.

The Skift Wellness newsletter is our  weekly dispatch focused on what’s happening in wellness from a global business standpoint. Skift Wellness lives where wellness meets commerce, mindfulness meets technology, the yoga studio meets the boardroom, and health meets business.

Fitbit was an early leader in the world of wearables. Its colorful, clip-on trackers took the fitness world by storm, attracting everyone from weekend warriors to frequent walkers, each looking to count their steps and calories burned.

Since the launch of Apple Watch, however, the brand has struggled. The tech giant has chipped away at the smartwatch market — it currently holds about 50 percent — and converted many Fitbit fans into Apple Watch loyalists.

But things may soon change in the tracker space. Alphabet is reportedly in talks to acquire Fitbit, which sent Fitbit shares up more than 30 percent in a single day.

While the buy would bring fresh life to the tracking brand, Fitbit customers may have concerns over privacy, wondering just how much data they’re forking over to Alphabet. Fans of Apple, moreover, likely won’t jump back over to Fitbit if they’re already converts to the Apple Watch.

Still, if Alphabet can bring on the innovation, it may be able to draw in new Fitbit fans, making the purchase a good step.

In other Wall Street news, Lululemon almost had too good of a year. In order for its stock to stay this strong, it’s going to have to be “flawless,” according to one analyst. That’s a tall order, considering the fickleness of the wellness customer. We predict a good year for the athleisure company. But flawless? Unlikely.

For feedback or news tips, reach out via email at [email protected] or tweet me @lesliebarrie.

— Leslie Barrie, Wellness Editor


Alphabet Makes a Move to Acquire Fitbit: That Google’s parent company would make an offer to buy Fitbit makes good business sense. After all, Apple Watch has had considerable success — and Alphabet likely wants in on the wearable action since Google does have an operating system but doesn’t make its own smartwatch. News of the offer sent Fitbit’s stock soaring. If the purchase goes through, it’s game on with Apple. Read more here.


Lululemon’s Stock Drops Over Pressure to Be Flawless: Even though Lululemon is growing, as well as delving into high fashion, the athleisure brand has an uphill battle in the new year. An analyst at Citi warned that the company needed to be “flawless” in order to keep its shares up in 2020. That’s a tough goal, considering most companies would be happy with an excellent year. We predict the bar will be too high for the otherwise thriving label. Read more here.


What’s Next for Wellness Tourism: While wellness isn’t a completely new concept in tourism, the trend is taking off. Skift Research’s latest report, Defining a New Era of Wellness Tourism, takes a deep dive into just how big the wellness tourism market is and what kind of wellness trends will keep customers flocking. Read more here.

Travel Trends Announced at Global Wellness Summit: Global Wellness Institute called out its top trends in wellness travel at this year’s summit in Singapore. While some of the trends aren’t too surprising — forest bathing has been around for some time, and we predicted women’s wellness travel as a Megatrend earlier this year — some do seem out of the box. For example: the concept of “switching on belief” as travelers increasingly seek out spiritual experiences. Read more here.

Mind & Body

Meditation Apps Go Beyond Calm and Headspace: Even though the two big players in the meditation app space — Calm and Headspace — get a lot of industry buzz, smaller players like Sanity & Self and Happy Not Perfect have started to build up a following. Sanity & Self, for one, takes an uncensored approach with guided meditations like, “Give less f#cks, live more life.” It’s only a matter of time before niche brands chip away at the major meditation companies’ audiences. Read more here.

Skift Wellness Editor Leslie Barrie [[email protected]] curates the Skift Wellness newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.

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Tags: alphabet, fitness, google, Skift Wellness, wearables, wellness

Photo credit: A man is wearing a Fitbit. Alphabet is reportedly in talks to acquire the wearable tracking brand. @fitnish / Unsplash

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