Fitbit Spent the Most on Wearable Fitness Ads Last Year

by Steven Perlberg, The Wall Street Journal

Fitbit led the pack of companies in the wearable fitness advertising race last year, as the device maker tried to maintain its grip on an increasingly crowded market, according to a new report from ad spending tracker Kantar Media.

Fitbit, which last month filed for an initial public offering, spent about $21.6 million last year across media like television, magazines and the Web to advertise its products, which track movement and sleep patterns. Garmin followed with $18.7 million in spending, while Samsung spent $11.6 million, according to Kantar Media.

Those three companies accounted for about three-quarters of the advertising spending for the entire fitness tracking category last year, Kantar Media said. Nike and Google followed the top three with about $3 million of ad spending each, according to the report, which does not include spending on things like social media or online video.

While the report covers spending from last year, the Apple Watch’s entry into the wearable fitness category this year will likely alter the ad spending calculus across the market. According to NPD Group, Fitbit holds 68% of the fitness-tracker market.

Kantar Media’s analysis depicted a young, volatile sector when it comes to ad spending. In 2010, for example, Garmin accounted for 77% of market ad spending. Then in 2011, Nike accounted for 42% of media spending thanks to an ad push for its Nike+ Training Club app, while Garmin dropped to 22%.

In 2013, Samsung spent heavily to promote its Galaxy Gear Smartwatch, making up nearly 89% of the wearable fitness ad market that year, according to the report. By 2014, Fitbit upped its spending as it invested in promoting products like the Fitbit Charge and Fitbit Surge.

Interestingly, Kantar Media noted that the top three advertisers collectively spent 65% of their 2014 advertising budgets in this category on an old-school medium: television.

Here’s the list of 2014 advertising spenders in wearable fitness:

TOP 20 WearableAdSpend

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