Fitbit Inc: Is Fitbit Stock Back in the Game for 2017?

fitbit stockThis Is What Fit Stock Needed to Start 2017

Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT) stock surged 8.5% on Tuesday, as there was some good news after a disappointing end to the year 2016. The maker of fitness trackers announced on Tuesday its expanded partnership with UnitedHealthcare (part of UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH)) and QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM).

This could be the growth catalyst that the company desperately needs. FIT stock closed at $7.94 in the last trading session.

Fitbit announced the addition of “Fitbit Charge 2” (the top-selling fitness tracker in the U.S.) into the recently expanded “UnitedHealthcare Motion” wellness program, powered by Qualcomm Life, Inc.

Offered to employers, UnitedHealthcare Motion is a wearable device wellness program that will soon enable employees using the Fitbit Charge 2 to track against the program’s activity metrics easily and conveniently. (Source: “Fitbit Announces Integration with Qualcomm Life’s 2net Platform to Help UnitedHealthcare Motion Program Participants Earn Up to $1,500 in Annual Rewards,” Fitbit Inc, January 3, 2017.) 

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Employees who participate in the UnitedHealthcare Motion program will receive financial incentives if they meet their activity goals. The program, launched in March 2016, rewards participating employees and eligible dependents for being active. The current program expansion will enable UnitedHealthcare Motion participants to use a Fitbit Charge 2 to earn up to $1,500 in Health Savings Account (HSA) or Heath Reimbursement Account (HRA) credits per year. (Source: Ibid.)

The year 2016 was a disaster for the company and FIT stock, which lost more than 70% of its value. But, if programs like these become a success, then the company can look forward to a better 2017.

James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit, said, “This integration is a first of its kind for Fitbit and brings together market leaders in healthcare and technology to drive better health outcomes and cost savings for both consumers and employers.”

Park further said that the partnership was a “demonstration of Fitbit’s commitment to delivering innovative solutions that combine the power of technology with insights to help people take a more proactive role in their health and offer motivation to reach their goals.”

Fitbit Inc has been running out of luck of late as it struggled to find a reason to cheer. In 2016, Fitbit stock suffered due to declining sales and competitors grabbing market share. Then there were production problems related to the “Flex 2” that impacted its sales for the holiday season.

One Mistake That Cost FIT Stock Dearly

Another piece of news that came in this week suggests that an incorrect press release by Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) may have caused the downfall of FIT stock toward the end of December.

It was reported in the media that Fitbit stock had surged on Tuesday after Christmas on the news that its app was among the most downloaded in Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) “App Store,” which suggested that the fitness tracker could have been a popular holiday gift.

However, FIT stock fell the next day, and the reason could be that in the version of its press release sent to BusinessWire, Inc., Amazon.com listed Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN) as the top-selling company in the wearable field and made no mention of Fitbit. But the version on Amazon.com’s web site listed Fitbit as the top-selling company. (Source: “Did an Amazon mistake sink Fitbit’s stock?” CBS, January 3, 2017.)

CFRA analyst Scott Kessler cited the BusinessWire version of Amazon.com’s press release and issued a “hold” rating on FIT stock. This further spooked investors. But the BusinessWire press release was incorrect, as confirmed by CBS News, and Fitbit was indeed the top-selling wearable on Amazon.

Can Fitbit Stock Overcome These Doubts in 2017?

There is no doubt that Fitbit leads the fitness wearables category and has an impressive lineup of products. However, investors are not certain of the company’s ability to impress them with its growth figures in the near future. If Fitbit comes up with a strong quarterly report or continues such fruitful partnerships, that would really provide much-needed strength to FIT stock.