Facepalm: Google acquired Fitbit in 2021, pledging to enhance accessibility to health and wellness services for a broader audience. However, this commitment appears to be wavering, as the tech giant is now withdrawing from nearly 30 national markets, primarily situated in the Americas.
Google has officially stated that Fitbit products are no longer being sold in Mexico and other Latin American countries. While existing users will still receive support, including software updates and access to customer service, the move puts Fitbit into a more exclusive product category for a global audience.
In addition to exiting Mexico and the LATAM markets, Google has revealed plans to withdraw from South Africa. A Google spokesperson said the removal of Fitbit (and Nest) products from certain markets is part of an effort to align its hardware business with the regional availability of Pixel devices. Notably, Pixel smartphones have not been offered in South Africa, whereas Fitbit devices have been a part of the local market for approximately a decade.
Google has assured users that there will be no alterations to existing Fitbit devices, ensuring they will continue to receive updates and bug fixes. Last month, Fitbit's departure from numerous national markets in Asia (such as Hong Kong, Korea, and Malaysia) and Europe (including Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, and more) was also confirmed.
Following its withdrawal from Mexico, Latin America, and South Africa, Fitbit devices are now available for purchase in only 23 countries worldwide. The supported markets include the US, Canada, most of Western Europe, the UK, Australia, India, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, and New Zealand.
While Google has stated its intention to align the Fitbit hardware business with Pixel phone sales, there may be additional motivations behind this decision. Google has ceased Fitbit sales in European countries lacking official Google Store support, hinting that the tracking devices might make a return in these countries when full Store support becomes available.
Google acquired Fitbit for approximately $2.1 billion two years ago, a move that faced scrutiny from European authorities. Concerns were raised about the potential integration of Google's advertising business with Fitbit's tracking platform. To address these concerns, the Alphabet-owned company made commitments to safeguard user privacy, forming a series of binding agreements with global regulatory authorities.