Wireless Applications

GPS Sport and Fitness Outlook Remains Bright

September 1, 2009

ABI Research notes more than 3.5 million shipments of GPS sports and fitness hardware in 2009; dedicated products suffering from recession but smartphone fitness applications are on the rise.

LONDON, U.K. --(BUSINESS WIRE)--Shipments of dedicated sport and fitness hardware such as Suunto GPS watches, Garmin cycling computers, and GPS golf rangefinders are suffering from the recession. But smartphone fitness applications such as MotionX-GPS are booming, with 1.2 million downloads in 2009. Continued application market growth will contribute to an annual growth rate of 34% through 2014.

"Garmin's recent announcement that its outdoor/fitness division's revenues slipped into negative territory highlights the vulnerability of its premium Forerunner GPS watch and Edge cycling ranges," says ABI Research practice director Dominique Bonte. "The economic downturn is the major factor, but the availability of affordable converged solutions has also played a role. However, in the longer term there is still a bright future for optimized sport and fitness devices offering unique advantages in reliability, size, features, robustness, and GPS accuracy."

Smartphone Applications
While serious sport and fitness practitioners will continue to prefer optimized devices, recreational users are discovering smartphone applications such as the remarkably successful MotionX-GPS, GolfLogix and Golfshot iPhone applications, with real-time sharing of statistics a major driver. The free Nokia Sports Tracker has been downloaded by millions of users. Nokia has also announced the N79 Active package including a Polar heart rate monitor.

While Trimble Outdoors' AllSportGPS and BonesInMotion's BIM Active solutions are available for a monthly fee from US carriers, most software on application stores is available for a one-off payment (also an option for AllSportGPS) illustrating the business model shift that is sidelining carriers. Moreover, many free fitness applications are on offer.

Double Challenge
Both dedicated and converged GPS fitness technology vendors continue to face the double challenge of integrating high-sensitivity, low-power GPS receivers in small form factors, and of developing affordable wireless sensor accessories, with standardized Low Energy Bluetooth (BLE) expected to challenge the Garmin-owned ANT proprietary protocol.

ABI Research's new "GPS Sport and Fitness Solutions" study examines trends, features, drivers and barriers, and form factors including a SWOT analysis. It describes the GPS sport and fitness ecosystem and provides strategic recommendations. The study contains forecasts by region for shipments and revenues of GPS watches, GPS accessories, cycling computers, golf rangefinders and converged solutions. It is part of the Location Based Services Research Service.

About ABI Research
ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of emerging trends in global connectivity. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research's worldwide team of experts advise thousands of decision makers through research and advisory services in seven key practice areas. Est. 1990.

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