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FitBit Charge 2 was launched last week at IFA Germany
 
 
Wearable ways to health

Fitness freaks fuel a galloping growth of wearable devices in India
Bangalore, September 10 2016: When Indians determine that something is good for them -- and good value -- they go for it with an enthusiasm that  often takes the industry by surprise. Wearable technology is a case in point. 
Latest numbers released this week by  analysts International Data  Corporation, indicate that  the growth of the market for wearables  in India is among  the fastest in the world -- almost 42 percent, compared to a worldwide  rate of 26.1 percent during the same period, the second quarter of 2016.
Buyers  here   share the global preference for health-related devices like fitness trackers  over other wearables like smart watches or safety bands.   Indian buyers   of wearables confirm their reputation as canny customers: they shun  costly products and overwhelmingly go for  health bands costing Rs 3500 or less.  Since online sellers offer the best deals, they  are able to scoop up almost 80 percent of Indian business in wearables.   We also buck the global trend  and  go for local brands:  the number one position in India with 16.1 percent market share is the desi health wearable  Goqii  which sells more units  in the corporate sector  compared to lay consumers ( See our Product review on the latest Goqii 2 version).
The Chinese  company Xiaomi holds  the second position with 10.3 percent share in India, followed by Fitbit the global number one  which  managed  6.7 percent. Other brands  which sell in India are Garmin ( 1.4 percent) and Huawei ( 1 percent). All these  brands put together account for only 35.5 percent  or just over a third of all wearables sold in India... the other 2/3rd of the sales are ratched up by unbranded    or unorganised   brands. This is a situation very similar to that which prevailed in the early years of the personal computer when Indians uniquely put their faith and money in unbranded and assembled  PCs.
In a separate study of the global wearables scenario, IDC finds that while basic wearables like health bands   grew briskly  to account for nearly 83% of all sales,  so called  'smart' wearables  are actually in decline.  Fitbit is the  undisputed champion of the global maidan, accounting for  25.4 percent or just over a quarter of all sales in the April- June 2016 period. It is followed by Xiaomi with 14 percent and Apple comes third with 7 percent.
The upcoming festive season  in India is expected to provided a big boost to the more affordable  wearables -- since they make good gifts.  But the IDC report hints that Indians are a choosy lot. They are not thrilled  with negative  aspects of many  health bands --  poor battery life,  low accuracy  and  lack of 'killer' features.  This is both challenge and opportunity  for India-based industry. They can  take up the challenge  thrown by the consumer  and create  truly paisa vasool products-- or fall by the wayside.
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FITBIT CHARGES AHEAD
Launched globally  last week, the Charge 2 is  4 times bigger

Fitbit is the worldwide leader in health tracking bands.  At the IFA
consumer electronics show in Germany last week, the company
launched  the new edition of its Charge  health band
Charge 2 is four times larger than the first version, but Fitbit feels it can
get away without making the band touch sensitive.   A single button
is provided to cycle through all  menu options.  like number of steps,
heat rate, stopwatch mode etc.  The display is larger and crisper.
A new introduction is Cardio Fitness -- using information like age, 
gender, weight  and heartrate to give you a cardio score.  Another is
a feature called Relax that  hlps you do a short breathing. Charge 2
was launched internationally at  $149 and is described on Fitbit's
India site but no India pricing yet.
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