Fitbit reports smartwatches slump as Versa Lite Edition sales disappoint

The cheaper Versa was not the success Fitbit hoped it would be
Fitbit Versa Lite Edition has not sold well
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Fitbit has revealed that revenue for its smartwatch division fell in Q2 2019 - and it appears partly down to weak sales of the Versa Lite Edition.

In the company's results it revealed that its tracker revenue increased 51% year-over-year, though smartwatch revenue was down 27% for the same period.

Essential reading: Picking the best Fitbit for you

The company's third smartwatch, which was essentially a cheaper version of its Versa watch with some features stripped away, experienced weaker than expected sales and was partly to blame for that disappointing second quarter for the wearable maker.

In response to that slump, co-founder and CEO James Park said, "We remain confident in our long-term transformation strategy and have demonstrated good results across key areas of the business. We saw growth in devices sold, increased active users and continued growth in our Fitbit Health Solutions channel, up 42% in the first half of 2019.”

Among the company's second quarter highlights, the new devices Fitbit introduced in the past 12 months, which include the likes of the Charge 3, Inspire series and Ace 2, represented 68% of the revenue. There is no breakdown of how those individual devices performed, despite the Versa Lite Edition being singled out for not performing as well as Fitbit hoped it would.

That dent in smartwatch revenue will be harder to take when smartwatch rival Apple announced massive wearable growth with its wearable division bringing in more revenue than its iPad division. While Apple's wearables division does include AirPods as well, the Apple Watch continues to be a huge seller for the company.

With the fitness tracker landscape so drastically changing, Fitbit decided to enter the smartwatch space in 2017. In that time, we've had three smartwatches. The Ionic didn't set the world alight, but then the Versa turned up and proved Fitbit could make a really good smartwatch. Offering a cheaper Versa Lite Edition seemed like a smart move based on the performance of the Versa. We even scored it higher than the original Versa, when we reviewed it.

Clearly, though, a cheaper Versa has not done the trick. Whatever its next smartwatch play is, it's going to have to be a big one that gets Fitbit back on track.