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Fitbit Competes in Mobile Health Field: Shares Rise to $30

By Vera Gruessner

- The mobile health field owes its significant growth over the last few years to fitness tracking devices and mHealth applications. The Fitbit, in particular, has been growing in popularity, as it measures the distance a person walks or runs as well as tracks users’ steps, floors climbed, and calories burned. Along with its many physical activity tracking applications, the Fitbit can also be worn to bed to measure sleep.

Mobile Health Field

According to CNBC, Fitbit shares opened at 52 percent higher than their IPO price on Thursday, June 18, 2015. This puts the stock at one of the top 10 stock market launches of the year.

More than 40 million shares of stock was bought throughout the day and shares hit as high as $29.93. The company is currently valued at $4.1 billion. This shows how fitness tracking devices have truly boosted the mobile health field and stimulated more excitement in improving wellness and patients’ health. While Fitbit is a strong company in the mobile health field, there are other competitors like Apple and Garmin that are also offering popular mHealth tools and applications.

“There's over $200 billion of consumer spending on health and fitness. This is a massive market. There's room for more than one dominant player,” Fitbit CEO James Park told the news source. “The brand Fitbit is really synonymous with health and fitness tracking, so we feel that we have really significant competitive differentiators in the market.”

While the Fitbit seems to be making headway in the mobile health field, a Market Watch opinion editorial finds the marketing target of the fitness tracking device mismatched with the typical age medical conditions hit the population.

Essentially, the company targets younger people, but the fitness tracker is meant to better manage exercise that would reduce heart disease risk. The statistics show that less than 1 percent of Americans under 40 years of age have heart disease and less than 6 percent of citizens under 60 years of age are at risk.

“Gadgets that measure fine distinctions in the propensity for heart disease, in a demographic that has near-zero occurrence of heart disease, are not health-care reform. It’s not serious. In other words, the product is a toy, and a fad, and maybe a fashion statement,” Reporter Tim Mullaney wrote in the opinion piece.

Only time will tell whether the Fitbit will be merely a fad or will hold a more significant place in the consumer landscape. Based on Thursday’s performance, the Fitbit will likely hold its own over the coming months.

The Verge continued the discussion about Fitbit’s stock market growth. While the morning’s shares were priced at $20 a piece, this rose almost immediately to $30 per share. The company’s market cap was at $6.3 billion.

Essentially, the wearable device market seems to be growing in popularity across the consumer base. From the Apple smartwatch to the Fitbit and Google Android wear, wearables devices are making headway in the mobile health field.

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