Fitbit launched its first wearable for children, aiming to open a fresh growth segment to offset declines in its traditional wearables business.
The Ace tracker, unveiled in March, is designed to motivate children aged eight years old and over to be active. Users will have access to statistics including the number of steps taken, minutes of activity and time spent sleeping. Fitbit also lined up family challenges, celebratory messages and badges for achieving goals.
Children are being viewed as a new avenue for device makers like Fitbit to pursue gains as wearables sales growth stagnates. Indeed, when it debuted the Ace, Fitbit said its research showed 75 per cent of parents expressed an interest in using a fitness tracker to help keep their kids moving.
Chinese vendor Coolpad also sees opportunities in children’s wearables: in February it revealed it would launch a smartwatch in the US towards the end of the year. The device will run Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear chipset, and be designed to act as a phone, watch, GPS device, activity tracker and learning platform.
John Choi, VP of new product planning and innovation at Coolpad, told Mobile World Live the device is meant to fill a gap for parents who want to stay connected with children aged between six and eleven years old who may not yet have a smartphone.
“Interest in this category has been growing. Our research shows there was a 20 per cent plus increase in interest in kids’ smartwatches in the US between 2016 and 2017, and we expect this trend to continue.”
But both companies will have to compete with Garmin, which first launched wearables for children in September 2016; and LG, which offers GPS tracking and limited communication capabilities in its child-oriented Gizmo series.