Battered navigation companies look past PNDs for new business

Personal fitness GPS products could be a possible growth market for struggling PND companies. A new report from ABI Research is forecasting that the personal fitness GPS market could soon surpass 10 million units. Products such as the Garmin Forerunner 610 have helped its Outdoor and Fitness division deliver 27% of the company’s operating income last year, ABI said, and that growth continued into 2011 when the company recorded a 25% increase in fitness sales during the second quarter. “Garmin remains by far the dominant player in this expanding market, with over 90% of the market share, but it will face some new emerging competition,” telematics and navigation senior analyst Patrick Connolly said. The industry growth has been spurred by other companies too, including Citizen, Casio and Polar, among others. “There has also been a dearth of health/fitness devices launched on the market in 1H11, from companies such as Basis, Fitbit, Jawbone, Bodymedia, Philips and Hitachi,” said ABI Telematics and navigation practice director Dominique Bonte “Many have indicated that GPS is part of their future plans.” Mobile devices have also helped drive sales of personal fitness GPS applications, and ABI Research noted the success of Nike, Runkeeper and MapMyRun. Read on for the full press release.

Garmin, Citizen, and Casio Have Their Sights Set On the 10 Million Unit Fitness GPS Market

The Launch of Nike/TomTom’s GPS fitness watch has given the market the shot in the arm it needed, with new devices, applications, and companies helping to drive forecasts for fitness GPS shipments beyond the 10 million mark.

Garmin has responded to the challenge positively with the latest edition of its Forerunner series, the 610, a watch featuring slim line ergonomics and responsive touch user interface. Garmin’s Outdoor and Fitness division delivered 27% of the company’s total operating income for 2010, and saw a 25% increase in fitness sales for 2Q11. Telematics and navigation senior analyst Patrick Connolly said, “Garmin remains by far the dominant player in this expanding market, with over 90% of the market share, but it will face some new emerging competition.”

Polar, Citizen, and Casio have also made announcements around new GPS fitness devices. Polar launched its RCX5 training computer, which features a GPS accessory. Citizen has also taken steps to integrate GPS into its watches with the Appleseed. Although the watch has no clear fitness application and clocks in at over $4000, the GPS technology is expected to filter into future watch lines. Additionally, Casio announced its prototype watch that features Bluetooth 4.0 for smartphone synching. It has stated that it plans to incorporate public transport and fitness functionality via GPS in the near future.

Fitness remains a key segment at the major application stores. Companies like Runkeeper, Nike, and MapMyRun continue to attract new users and investigate new business models. Telematics and navigation practice director Dominique Bonte said, “There has also been a dearth of health/fitness devices launched on the market in 1H11, from companies such as Basis, Fitbit, Jawbone, Bodymedia, Philips and Hitachi. Many have indicated that GPS is part of their future plans.”

ABI Research’s study, “Recreational, Outdoor, and Fitness GPS Solutions,” compares the hardware and mobile application revenue for key GPS sports, outdoor, and fitness markets, illustrating how these will evolve together.
It is part of the firm’s Location Platforms and Enablers Research Service which also includes other Research Reports, Surveys, Market Data products, ABI Insights, ABI Vendor Matrices, and analyst inquiry support.
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