Fitbit makes one of the best-known fitness trackers in a market that is overflowing with them — and which is bracing for the arrival of the Apple Watch. It's a tricky time to go public, but one thing the company has going for it is its profits, $132 million worth in 2014. Here's what we learned from reading the company's IPO filing.
1. Fitbit has sold 20.8 million devices — only selling 58,000 (yes, that's thousand) in 2009, 1.3 million in all of 2012, 10.9 million in 2014, and 3.9 million in the first three months of 2015. It says it has 68% of the U.S. fitness tracker market.
According to NPD Group data cited by the company, Fitbit had nine of the top-selling fitness tracker units in 2014 and its market share grew to 68% in 2014, from 58% in 2013.
2. Fitbit's revenue, like many pre-IPO companies, is growing by leaps and bounds: from $14.5 million in 2011, to $76.4 million in 2012, to $745 million in 2014.
3. And unlike some other companies approaching IPOs, it is profitable. Fitbit made $132 million in 2014, after losing money for the previous four years, including a $51.6 million loss in 2013.
4. One reason for the big losses: the 2014 recall of the Fitbit Force after user complaints that it caused allergic reactions and skin irritation. The company said the recall lopped off $84.7 million of pretax profit for 2013 and $22.3 million for 2014.
5. Fitbit is in a very competitive market and is worried about the Apple Watch. The company's first listed "risk factor" is essentially a list of competitors like Garmin, Jawbone, Misfit, Adidas, Under Armour, Google, Apple, and LG.
"The connected health and fitness devices market is highly competitive, with companies offering a variety of competitive products and services," the company said in its filing.
"We expect competition in our market to intensify in the future as new and existing competitors introduce new or enhanced products and services that are potentially more competitive than our products and services. The connected health and fitness devices market has a multitude of participants."