Ice on my Wrist

  • Intro
  • History
  • Universe
  • Garmin Ltd.
  • Bulls
  • Bears
  • Conclusion/Recommendation


If you're a fitness fanatic or just a weekend warrior, chances are you have a wearable fitness tracker on your wrist. After all, it's the ultimate accessory for keeping track of your steps, calories burned, and how many times you've convinced yourself to hit snooze on your morning run.

Ten years ago, the thought of wearing a computer on your wrist was about as likely as flying cars and teleportation - a futuristic fantasy reserved for tech-savvy geeks and Trekkies. But now, even your grandma has a Fitbit and is tracking her steps like a pro. It's no longer just for tech geeks, it's for anyone who wants to keep an eye on their fitness.

The wearable fitness industry is on a roll, set to reach a whopping $54 billion by 2027. It's growing at a breakneck pace of 20.5% CAGR, and the reason is clear - companies have found a way to monetize consumers’ desire for a healthy lifestyle. With increasing awareness about the benefits of physical activity, it's no wonder that this market is on fire.


Companies had dabbled in the wearable tech space since the 1980s, but nobody was able to launch a game-changing product until the 2010s. The Japanese company Seiko dropped a TV watch in 1982 - for $495 wearers could watch TV or listen to the radio. But to use it, you had to be wired like a lab rat to another portable computer and headphones.

Microsoft tried launching its own smartwatch in 2003 that would provide users with news, sports scores, weather updates, etc. with its partnership with Swatch. But demand totally bombed and the project was deemed a failure. 

When Apple dropped its first smartwatch in 2015, it was like the wearable fitness tracker scene had been hit by a fitness bomb. Suddenly, having a device that could track your time, heart rate, sleep patterns, oxygen levels, and calorie burn was no longer a luxury, it was a necessity. It was like the world had been living in a pre-smartwatch era.

Apple may have been feeling the heat from an up-and-coming startup called Fitbit. Fitbit launched its first product, the Fitbit Tracker, in 2009. It was a small, clip-on device that could track steps taken, calories burned, and distance traveled, but mostly popular with fitness enthusiasts rather than a mainstream crowd.

But in 2014 Fitbit released the Fitbit Charge, which could track steps taken, calories burned, and sleep patterns. The Charge also came with a heart rate monitor, call and text notifications.

Maybe Apple helped launch a wearable tech revolution. In 2022, an estimated 63% of Americans owned some sort of wearable tech.


The American smartwatch market is a battle royale between Apple Watch and Fitbit. Apple is the reigning champion, selling a whopping 40 million watches per year, more than the entire Swiss watch industry combined. 

Fitbit, on the other hand, is the scrappy underdog, focusing on fitness tracking without all the frills and whistles of the Apple Watch. For those with Google or Samsung phones, Fitbit is the perfect alternative, since the Apple Watch's features are heavily reliant on having an iPhone. 

But don't count out the Samsung Galaxy Watch, it's also a worthy competitor to the Apple Watch and Fitbit. Meanwhile, in Asia, the smartwatch scene is booming, with Amazfit and Xiamoi leading the charge.

Fitness enthusiasts are gravitating towards wearable tech devices that track recovery and sleep more comprehensively than an Apple Watch or Fitbit. Whoop was founded by Harvard graduates and tracks heart-rate-variance, resting-heart-rate, and a slew of other metrics that predict recovery and performance. Like an Apple Watch or Fitbit, users strap their Whoop around their wrist. But the company promises so much more. Whoop’s latest fundraising was at a $4 billion valuation. 

Oura, on the other hand, is a smart ‘ring’ that tracks many of the similar sleep and recovery metrics as Whoop. This past spring, Oura raised funding at a $2.55 billion valuation. 

Whoop and Oura market themselves as the fortune tellers of the fitness world, promising to give you a glimpse into the mystical inner workings of your body. They'll tell you tales of how their devices saved athletes from the dreaded overtraining injury, and even predict the onset of illnesses like Covid before symptoms. It’s easy to see how Whoop’s “know and unlock yourself” mantra can foster some FOMO in fitness enthusiasts.

But some players like Garmin are starting to develop some of the features Whoop and Oura provide. The Garmin 955, the latest watch Garmin has released, combines heart-rate-variability, sleep, and recovery tracking with a large brand-name recognition. 

Like any other industry, each company sets its own target audience. In the United States, Apple caters to the consumer who wants all of the premium apps that come with fitness trackers - in addition to tracking steps, the Apple Watch is almost an extension of the iPhone. 

Fitbit, on the other hand, appeals to the user who tolerates a more ‘straightforward’ user experience. Garmin, Whoop, and Oura, on the other hand, generally cater to the more serious fitness enthusiast.

Publicly Traded Stocks Include:

  • Apple Inc. ($AAPL)
    • Apple sells upwards of 40 million Apple Watches every year - more than the entire Swiss watch industry combined.
  • Alphabet, Inc. ($GOOGL)
    • Google bought Fitbit in 2019.
  • Garmin Ltd. ($GRMN)
    • Garmin manufactures watches for runners and the most intense fitness enthusiasts.
  • Xiaomi Corporation ($XIACF)
    • Xiaomi is one of the most popular wearable device manufacturers in China.
  • Samsung Electronics ($SSNLF)
    • The Samsung Galaxy watch is popular with users who don’t own iPhones.
  • Fossil Group Inc. ($FOSL)
    • Fossil Group is a popular watch maker that recently released heart-rate-tracking capabilities to some of its models.
  • Qualcomm Inc. ($QCOM)
    • Qualcomm manufacturers smartwatches leveraging the company’s microchip capabilities.
  • Advanced Micro Devices Inc. ($AMD)
    • Many wearable tech companies buy semiconductors from Advanced Micro Devices.

Key Industry Metrics:

  • Wearable Fitness Tracker Market Size: $45 billion (2021)
  • 2030 Projected Wearable Fitness Tracker Market Size: $192 billion
  • CAGR: 17.5%
  • Valuation/Market Cap:
    • Whoop: $3.6 billion
    • Oura: $2.6 billion
    • Garmin: $18.6 billion

Garmin Ltd. ($GRMN)

Founded in 1989 by Gary Burrell and Min Kao in the heartland of America, this multinational technology company specializes in the design and production of GPS technology, navigation, and communication devices. Starting with their first product, the GPS 100, which helped drivers find their way on the road, Garmin quickly expanded to other outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing. 

But they didn't stop there, in the early 2000s they set their sights on the skies and the seas, releasing GPS devices for boats and airplanes, a hit with recreational and commercial users alike. In 2005, they introduced the Nüvi, a personal GPS device for cars and became one of the leading manufacturers of GPS devices for consumers. And as we all know, they didn’t stop there, Today Garmin is a leading provider of GPS technology and navigation devices, from fitness trackers to smartwatches to action cameras, their products are used by people all over the world.

Industry experts suspect Garmin could be a key acquisition target for an established company in the space like Apple, or even a company like Amazon or Meta trying to break into the space. Some think Garmin has a better fitness platform than Apple, and an acquisition would immediately add $5 billion to Apple's top line and $900 million to the bottom line annually.

Key Garmin Stats:

  • Market Cap (billions): $18.6
  • Enterprise Value (billions): $17.1
  • Revenue (billions): $5.0 
  • EBITDA margin: 24.8%


The wearable tech industry is expected to continue growing, weaving its way into different aspects of society.

  1. Growing health awareness: As people become more aware of the importance of maintaining good health, the demand for wearable fitness devices is likely to increase.
  2. Convenience: Wearable fitness devices allow users to track their progress, set goals, and receive real-time feedback, all from the convenience of their wrist or pocket.
  3. Personalization: Wearable fitness devices can be tailored to the specific needs and goals of each individual user, making them more effective and motivating.
  4. Advancements in technology: With the advancements in technology, wearable fitness devices have become more accurate and sophisticated, making them more attractive to consumers.
  5. Cost-effective: Wearable fitness devices are relatively inexpensive compared to other forms of fitness equipment, making them accessible to a wide range of consumers.
  6. Potential for growth: The wearable fitness industry is still in its early stages, and there is significant potential for growth and expansion in the future.
  7. Potential for new applications: Wearable fitness devices can be used for more than just tracking physical activity, they can also monitor vital signs, sleep, and other health parameters.
  8. Integrations with other technologies: Wearable fitness devices can be integrated with other technologies such as smartphones and smartwatches, providing users with even more features and capabilities


Some think the wearable tech industry is too oversaturated to make it a sound investment.

  1. High competition: The wearable tech industry is highly competitive, with many established players such as Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit, making it difficult for new companies to enter the market and compete.
  2. Short product lifecycle: Wearable tech products have a relatively short product lifecycle, with new models and features being released frequently. This means that investments in wearable tech companies may have a limited return on investment.
  3. Privacy concerns: Wearable tech devices often collect sensitive personal data, such as health information, which has led to concerns about privacy and data security. This could limit the growth of the industry and make it a risky investment.
  4. Limited market size: Wearable tech is still a relatively niche market, and its growth potential may be limited. This could make it a risky investment for those looking for high returns.
  5. High development costs: Developing and producing wearable tech products can be expensive, which can make it difficult for companies to turn a profit and may limit their growth potential.
  6. Limited battery life: Many wearable tech devices have limited battery life, which can be a major inconvenience for users and limit their appeal. This could affect the adoption rate of wearable tech products and negatively impact the industry.


If you are holding Apple or Alphabet stock, chances are you have adequate exposure to the wearable tech industry. While it would be great for retail investors to have the chance to invest in startups like Whoop and Oura, venture capital investing is nevertheless off the table for most investors.

That said, investors who want higher exposure to the industry might consider investing in Garmin. In light of the industry's projected growth by ~18% annually, we think there may be enough upside in Garmin to make it a sound investment.

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