Only Google Chromecast's app is more popular than Fitbit's in connected device category

By Aditi Pai
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FitbitWhen it comes to companion apps for connected devices, Fitbit's is the most downloaded in the health and fitness category and the second most downloaded overall. That's according to a newly released report focused on connected devices from mobile analytics company App Annie.

App Annie's analysis wasn't just focused on health or fitness-related devices, the reports includes companion apps for media devices (TV streaming, for example) and productivity devices (a catchall for printer-connected apps and credit card payment devices like Square). The report also looked at apps in the Apple and Google Play app stores. App Annie noted in its blog that the number of health and fitness apps grew 2.3 times year-over-year as of August 2014.

The report found that in the health and fitness category, Up by Jawbone is the second most downloaded app, followed by Garmin Connect, Nike+ FuelBand, and Misfit Shine.

Compared to connected devices in all categories, only Google's Chromecast device, which enables internet video streaming to a TV, has more downloads than Fitbit. The fitness app beat out DirecTV, payment service Square, and GoPro.

This isn't the first time a research firm has reported that Fitbit is leading in sales or popularity in a connected device category.

At the beginning of the year, NPD Group, which tracks the digital fitness device market at the point of sale, reported that in 2013, Fitbits, Jawbone UPs, and Nike FuelBands accounted for 97 percent of all smartphone-enabled activity trackers sold at brick-and-mortar stores or through big ecommerce sites. NPD's data does not include sales directly from the device makers websites, which may be substantial in some cases. 

For the 52-week period beginning in early January 2013 and ending in early January 2014, Fitbit’s devices accounted for 68 percent of devices sold; Jawbone UP sales accounted for 19 percent of all devices sold; and Nike FuelBand sales made up 10 percent of sales. All other activity tracking devices together accounted for the remaining 3 percent of sales.

Since then, though, Fitbit has run into a few roadblocks. Shortly after NPD came out with its report, Fitbit announced a voluntary recall of the Fitbit Force after a number of users complained of somewhat mysterious bouts of skin irritation, usually occurring a number of weeks after they began wearing the tracker.

And recently, the company hired a lobbyist firm to represent its interests on the Hill. According to the official lobbyist registration form, Heather Podesta + Partners will help Fitbit “educate lawmakers regarding health and fitness devices”. The move to hire a lobbyist came shortly after Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) held Fitbit up as an example during a tirade about health data privacy issues.