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You can't seem to keep a hotFitbit(NYSE: FIT)down these days. Shares of the leading player in wearable fitness moved higher on Tuesday after a favorable analyst note and encouraging words for its market out of Best Buy (NYSE: BBY).
The news was enough to send the stock above $15 again. It had fallen below that mark in recent days after leaked snapshots of what is reportedly two upcoming Fitbit products failed to impress the marketplace.
Today's bullish nod came from Longbow Research, encouraged by Fitbit's potential overseas market. Longbow analyst Jot Wittne estimates that Fitbit can sell as many as 109 million of its activity trackers across 15 different foreign countries. That's a pretty big deal for a company that only sold roughly 50 million units so far, 10.5 million of those during the first six months of 2016.
It's a brave new world
Wittine's estimate could prove to be conservative. He went with a lower market-penetration rate than in the U.S. where the devices are selling at a 15% clip to smartphones. It's the right approach.
We can't assume that Fitbit will dominate international territories, or that wearable fitness trackers will even be a thing in a few years. Wittine is also naturally not assuming that Fitbit will corner the market in each of those countries. He went with whatever rate the iPhone achieved in the 15 key countries, likening Fitbit's presence to that of another stateside premium-priced brand.
Fitbit's role as a globetrotter will take time to play out. Wittine only sees 17 million devices in the near term. It's still encouraging, and his $20 price target offers up plenty of upside from here. The only bittersweet irony there is that $20 was its IPO price last summer.
Turning our attention to Best Buy, the leading consumer electronics superstore chain moved higher after posting better-than-expected quarterly results last night. Best Buy singled out the strength in wearables, among other categories, which helped offset the decline in mobile and gaming products.
The long road back
Shares of Fitbit surrendered more than half of their value, but they've been rallying during the latter half of 2016. Fitbit stock is still well below its IPO and Longbow's target price of $20. However, it has started to show signs of life in recent weeks.
Things aren't perfect. Revenue growth is slowing, and margins are contracting. However, the one thing keeping Fitbit back these days is the fear that its fitness bracelets may stop becoming popular activity-monitoring accessories as alternatives flood the market. Right now, there's still growth to be had if you ask Best Buy -- and according to Longbow, the party's just getting started overseas.
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Rick Munarriz owns shares of Fitbit. The Motley Fool recommends Fitbit. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.