Google to Phase Out Fitbit Pay, Shifting to Google Wallet

The wearables market stagnated in 2023 as consumers felt the pressure of inflation. Those who bought their devices during the heyday of wearables have held onto them in hopes prices would ease. The market is expected to pick up in the latter half of the year as users finally replace their aging devices.

Unfortunately, this boost may come too late for Fitbit, once a leader in wearables with its fitness-tracking smartwatches. The company has been surpassed by competitors like Apple. Since Google acquired Fitbit in 2021 for $2.1 billion, there’s been uncertainty about the future of the brand. And Google has done little to reassure Fitbit’s loyal consumer base.

Recently, the tech giant recently discontinued Fitbit sales in multiple countries, leading to the departure of independent developers who once thrived on the platform. In a further development, Google announced that Fitbit Pay will be phased out and replaced with Google Wallet.

A Superior Platform

Google has made strides to expand its digital wallet into much more than a payments platform.

“From Google’s perspective, it makes perfect sense,” said Elisa Tavilla, Director of Debit Payments at Javelin Strategy & Research. “It will unify its payments methods on Android. On the consumer side, as we found in our latest North American PaymentsInsights survey, more people are using digital wallets on wearables, especially when they’re exercising. It’s just more convenient than using a card or a mobile phone.”

Questioning the Motive

While Fitbit fans might appreciate the added functionality, they’re likely concerned about the future of the brand. Which raises the question: why did Google buy Fitbit? At the time, the tech giant said that the Fitbit acquisition would bolster innovation in Google’s wearables offerings.

Others have speculated Google bought Fitbit not because of its product line, but for the trove of customer health information housed in the fitness tracker’s systems. Given Google’s recent actions, that reasoning has become more plausible.

Users will still be able to add new cards to Fitbit Pay until July 29, when that functionality ends. Google also announced it will close Fitbit’s online shop. All Fitbit products will now be available in Google Store.

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