As Google's planned $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit is facing antitrust headwinds over concerns of the search giant gaining access to a vast amount of valuable health and activity data, the company itself has repeatedly stressed that the acquisition is about devices rather than data. "By working closely with Fitbit’s team of experts, and bringing together the best AI, software and hardware, we can help spur innovation in wearables and build products to benefit even more people around the world," Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of Devices & Services, wrote in the official announcement of the deal last year.
Having long held a market leading role in the global wearables market, Fitbit saw its position weakened a bit in recent years. Facing more intense competition from Apple, Samsung and a couple of Chinese vendors, the fitness tracking pioneer was the fifth largest wearables brand in the world last year, according to IDC. Fitbit has been struggling to keep up with the overall market's growth in recent years, however, as it found itself stuck between low-cost fitness trackers from China and Apple's immensely popular Apple Watch.
Having grown from 178 million shipped devices in 2018 to 337 million units last year, the wearables market is currently in flux, as the advent of smart "hearables" has changed the face of the industry.