A 73-year-old woman is crediting a wearable manufactured by Fitbit with saving her life. Connecticut resident Patricia Lauder said that her Fitbit wearable, which she initially bought to track her steps and lose weight, was able to detect symptoms of a massive blood clot in her lungs.
Lauder explained to CBS News that she wasn’t feeling well, explaining she noticed her heart rate was consistently climbing higher each day. One day, her rate spiked to 140 beats per minute, and she was experiencing shortness of breath. So she immediately sought medical attention. Doctors discovered a serious, and potentially life-threatening condition: two pulmonary embolisms, or blood clots, in her lungs.
Although Fitbit is the top maker in wearable devices, the company’s sales are shrinking. Over the all-important holiday shopping quarter last year, Fitbit’s sales dropped by 19%, amid manufacturing problems, weak demand in Asia, and a lack of compelling upgrades to its devices. The stock—currently at $5.66—is down over 70% since it went public in 2015.
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The company is also facing increased competition from Apple (APPL) with the Apple Watch and Garmin (GRMN) as well as with Asian competitors such as Xiaomi. Fitbit’s share of the wearable device market dropped to 19% in the fourth quarter from 29% a year earlier. The company recently announced that it is adding heart rate tracking and improved sleep monitoring to one of its more popular devices: the Alta HR.
In Fitbit’s view, the company’s future rests on the opportunity to attract more mainstream buyers, or late adopters, haven’t yet adopted wearable devices. And if the company can detect more for its users than just steps tracked or calories burned, then it could potentially sell more devices.