Garmin, Citizen, and Casio target 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, according to ABI Research.

Garmin has responded to the challenge 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 percent of the company’s total operating income for 2010, and saw a 25 percent increase in fitness sales for 2Q11.

“Garmin remains by far the dominant player in this expanding market, with over 90 percent of the market share, but it will face some new emerging competition,” said Patrick Connolly, senior analyst, Telematics and navigation.

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.

Though the watch has no clear fitness application and clocks in at over $4000, the GPS technology is expected to filter into future watch lines. 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.

“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,” said Dominique Bonte, practice director, Telematics and navigation.

By Team
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