Despite major GPS fitness device OEMs announcing new fitness products at CES 2014, it looks like an increasingly difficult battle between smart devices and wearables. Garmin launched its Vivofit fitness band and Vivoki/Vivahub corporate wellness solution. Magallen is one of the few companies in the GPS device OEM space that continues to show flashes of innovation, opening up its Echo watch platform to a range of third party smartphone application developers. At the high-end of the GPS fitness watch market, Polar has launched a new multi-sport watch, which features a barometric pressure sensor, support for new features such as a cycling power pedal, and an interesting price point of $450-500. TomTom has launched an iOS application that links its current GPS watch range to an iPhone via Bluetooth.
In ABI Research’s quarterly GPS/GNSS Device tracker, the impact of these new device categories on dedicated GPS fitness device growth can be fully seen. Senior analyst Patrick Connolly comments, “Our forecasts for the overall GPS-enabled fitness area remain strong, hitting $2.6 Billion in 2018, but as was the case with turn-by-turn navigation, converged devices and wearables will take an increasing part of the available market. The adage of keeping what we have is important here, retaining a firm eye on growth in professional users, with hardware and in particular eyewear, a major distinguisher.”
Practice director Dominique Bonte adds, “Of the announcements, Garmin’s move into corporate wellness was the most striking. We are about to see a huge technological shift in the corporate/business sector, around BYOD, BYOW, wellness, security, and efficiency. What is interesting is that Garmin does not include a location element, which will be a core enabler in this sea change.”
These findings are part of ABI Research’s Location Devices Research Service.