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Which retailer has the best fitness tracker offering?

By Chris Elliott

The start of a new year presents brands and retailers an opportunity to promote healthy food, drink and exercise equipment to shoppers who may have over-indulged during the Christmas season and are now determined to get back in shape.

According to research from American Express, a third of people in the UK plan to exercise more, while 30 percent plan to eat better. The research predicts that shoppers wanting to up their fitness game will spend an average of £102 on sports clothing, activewear and fitness trackers.

While smartwatches can feature a vast array of functions, from GPS navigation to video-calling, as well as body-functions tracking, medical and fitness wearables tend to focus only on the latter aspect. These devices use technology to monitor and analyse data from a person’s daily life, like heart rate, calorie intake, blood pressure and even cerebral activity.

This information is then used in order to signal anomalies, to create lifestyle and health patterns or to provide a detailed medical history. The recipients of the data can be the wearer or a third-party, such as medical professionals or relatives. Among other things, such devices can be used to monitor baby movements, independently living elders, as well as sufferers of certain health conditions.

Among the major companies on the wearable fitness market are Fitbit, Jawbone and Nike, but other sportswear giants are expected to soon follow suit. In the medical field, biomedical startups, such as Ybrain, which makes wearables for Alzheimer’s patients, or Soterix Medical, a specialist in non-invasive neuromodulation and brain stimulation technology are competing for market share with their products. Statistics show that in 2013 already 15 million people were using health and fitness wearables and the number of users are expected to increase to almost 100 million in 2018.

2016 saw the release of a number of new fitness trackers in the UK including the Fitbit Alta, Garmin Forerunner 35 and TomTom Spark 3. The availability of an increased range of products, both new and existing models, and continued shopper interest, led to a significant amount of promotions at the start of 2017.


Promotion of fitness trackers

Using Brand View Promotional History we have analysed the quantity and perceived – by the shopper – depth of cut of promotions in the Fitness Tracker category in Argos, Currys, John Lewis and Very since 3 October 2016.

All four retailers analysed significantly increased the number of fitness tracker promotions at the end of November for the Black Friday weekend. Following the sales event, John Lewis and Very reduced the number of fitness tracker promotions going into early December – Argos also did this but to a much lesser extent.

Currys differed from the other retailers as it significantly reduced the number of promotions in December to levels that were lower than it promoted in October. However, as the retailer reduced the quantity of promotions, it’s perceived average depth of cut rose as it increased the saving on a number of fitness tracker promotions.

John Lewis kept its perceived average depth of cut largely constant while Very reduced the savings on its products as it introduced more promotions for the Black Friday weekend. Argos also introduced more promotions for the Black Friday sales event, however it increased its perceived average depth of cut with additional promotions on the Garmin Vivofit 2, Mistfit Shine 2 and a number of Soleus items.

Using the Brand View Strategic Pricing piano analysis we saw that the majority of fitness trackers – 62.9 percent – were priced between £50 and £149.99. Argos had a greater number of listings in the lower price bands, particularly between £0 and £49.99, than the other retailers analysed.

When we looked at the number of listings as a percentage of each retailer’s range we saw that 68.8 percent of the related Argos products were priced at £99.99 or lower. A significantly greater amount than its rivals. Just 43.2 percent of Currys’ range was priced below £99.99 and only 39.7 percent in Very.

Currys and John Lewis had the greatest number of fitness tracker listings in the £100 to £149.99 price band. Very had the greatest focus on the £150 to £199.99 price bracket as 17 percent of its fitness tracker range was in this price range.

Argos could have had a greater number of products in the lower price band because the retailer stocks a different range of items compared to its rivals. Using the Brand View Strategic Pricing piano report to look at the top eight brands listed across each retailer on 9 January 2017, we can see these brands made up 85 percent of all fitness tracker listings.

The £0 to £49.99 price band in Argos showed that the large number of fitness tracker products in this price bracket was largely due to nine Jawbone listings. Argos listed five Jawbone UP MOVE fitness trackers which were not listed by any of the other retailers. The remaining four Jawbone products were variations of the UP 2 which were on a half price promotion.

Argos was also the only retailer to list the Soleus brand of fitness trackers – all of which were priced below £149.99

Using Brand View Strategic Pricing piano to look at Very showed that it focused its range in the £150 – £199.99 price band, with markedly fewer listings in the lower price bands than some it’s rivals. In addition to this, Very also listed more Garmin products in this price range than any other retailer. It listed four variations of the Garmin Forerunner 35 whereas John Lewis listed only one and Argos none.

Using the Brand View Price Index, we benchmarked Argos’ shelf price of fitness trackers to the prices of Currys, John Lewis and Very on 9 January 2017.

On average, Argos was 6.7 percent more expensive than Currys on a basket of all the comparable fitness trackers both retailers list – Argos was also 3.6 percent more expensive than John Lewis. Argos was however 2.3 percent cheaper on average than Very.

Breaking down the basket into the major brands showed that Argos was on average more expensive on Fitbit, Polar and TomTom fitness trackers compared to both Currys and John Lewis.

The most noticeable difference, however, was on Misfit fitness trackers where Argos was an average of 34.2 and 37.3 percent more expensive than Currys and John Lewis respectively. The data showed this was largely because of Argos charging £89.99 for the Carbon Black and Rose Gold variations of the Misfit Ray whereas Currys promoted these products for £49.99 – a price that John Lewis matched.



Argos website 9 January 2017


Currys website 9 January 2017


The large range of fitness tracker products and related promotions available in January highlights the need for shoppers to research what features and specification they require and then to shop around to ensure they get the best deal possible. This presents an obvious opportunity for retailers to capture shoppers who have genuine purchase intent. The challenge for retailers is to stay abreast of their competitors’ range, pricing and promotional strategy.


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