Another fitness-band company shuts down. But why?

David Pogue
Tech Critic

This week, according to the Information, Jawbone shut down.

That’s the company, valued at $3 billion, that brought us the Up fitness bands.

So here’s the thing: Microsoft discontinued its fitness band in 2016. Nike discontinued its Fuel band in 2015.

Meanwhile, Fitbit, the biggest remaining seller of fitness bands, is having a tough time. Its first-quarter sales were down 39 percent over the same period last year.

What’s going on? Why are we abandoning fitness bands en masse?

The products themselves — the Fitbit Alta HR and Charge 2 especially—are fantastic. Superbly designed, very accurate, truly helpful in keeping you excited about moving more and sleeping better.

So why do the statistics show that half of Fitbit owners aren’t actually wearing their bands?

Two things are going on. First, lots of people give and get fitness bands as gifts. The number of bands sold is therefore much higher than the number of bands in use; not everyone who gets a Fitbit as a corporate, birthday, or holiday gift is interested in confronting or improving his or her terrible fitness habits.

Second, smartwatches may not be hot sellers, but little by little, their sales numbers are improving, at the expense of Fitbit-type bands. That’s a good argument for Fitbit, Inc. to start thinking about more watchlike bands — which is exactly what the company is doing.

David Pogue, tech columnist for Yahoo Finance, welcomes nontoxic comments in the comments section below. On the web, he’s davidpogue.com. On Twitter, he’s @pogue. On email, he’s poguester@yahoo.com. You can read all his articles here, or you can sign up to get his columns by email

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