The bling is coming for Fitbit (FIT) customers. The leading player in the booming connected health and fitness market introduced the pre-sale global availability of new accessory bands for its Fitbit Alta fitness tracker yesterday. These new accessories allow Alta wearers to swap out their bands for more fashionable alternatives.
The new accessories aren't a surprise. The bands that were designed in collaboration with New York design house Public School made their debut in February during New York Fashion Week. They can be ordered now with shipments starting next month.
They won't come cheap. The Type III Paracord Bracelet -- a military-inspired black braided bracelet is $175. The Axis is a modern stainless steel band that situates the Alta tracker as if it was the center of a wristwatch. It's available in limited quantities at a $295 price point.
Keep in mind that the Alta tracker itself costs just $129.95. It's not often that you see add-ons that cost more than the devices that they are accessorizing. However, replaceable brands are a big deal with smartwatch makers, so it makes sense for Fitbit to hop on the trend.
A world of accessories
These aren't the only interchangeable bands available for Fitbit trackers. Fitbit has several options available on the market for as little as $14.95. However, recent partnerships with Public House and Vera Wang for fashion-forward replacement bands give upscale customers new ways to stand out. A partnership with Tory Burch will bear fruit next year.
When Fitbit unveiled the new Flex 2 and Charge 2 earlier this year it made a big deal of talking up the accessories that would be available. With those two devices expected to dominate Fitbit's performance for this upcoming holiday shopping season it's good to know that it's also working on stocking stuffers that will go along with the devices.
The deluge of Fitbit accessories may initially excite shareholders. Folks buying additional bands would naturally be providing incremental revenue to Fitbit's financial performance. However, could access to these interchangeable wrist huggers make folks less likely to upgrade the next time Fitbit updates its models? If refreshing a look is as simple as buying an accessory the pressure is truly on for Fitbit to offer significant upgrades to justify trading up to new tracker hardware. That could be a concern, but let's look at the other side of the story. Folks stocking up on a specific tracker's interchangeable bracelets will be less likely to jump ship. There will be loyalty there, coming in the form of all of the money invested in bands that can be used with updated models.
Fitbit doesn't get enough credit for its accessories business, but it's important. It's a difference maker. It hooks customers. High-end bracelets are coming, but this is really a play across all types of Fitbit owners.