For a long time, I’ve been predicting that the future of fitness trackers is with the enterprise customers, not consumers. While these devices are “nice to haves” for individuals — especially exercise enthusiasts — they don’t save consumers any money. Healthier employees save employers, insurance companies, and healthcare systems real money, however, which is why we are seeing more and more trackers being bought in the hundreds and thousands by corporate customers.
When Fitbit initially released their new Inspire models earlier this year, they were only made available to corporate customers. Those models have since been offered to consumers as well, but this is an important harbinger of where this market is headed. The company launched their Fitbit Care employee wellness program to support their corporate clients, and their trackers are now a covered benefit in Medicare Advantage programs in 27 states. And their devices were chosen to be included in the NIH’s ambitious “All of Us” program.
Now comes news that the company’s latest model, the Charge 3, is now integrated into UnitedHealthcare’s Motion employee-fitness incentive program. Participants enrolled in the program can earn more than $1,000 in rewards that get deposited in their health savings accounts. According to UnitedHealthcare, about half of those eligible choose to participate, and about 60% of those are still actively engaged after six months.
Fitbit is pursuing the enterprise strategy aggressively. According to a company representative, they want their products to “deliver the baseline health and fitness features that we know our Health Solutions customers are looking for” at a price that is affordable.
The UnitedHealthcare announcement about the Charge 3 is just one more bit of evidence that supports this shift in the tracker market from consumer to corporate. As more companies discover the return on investment available through employee fitness incentive programs, we can expect to see the market move even further in this direction.