ABI: Fitness Watches & Heads-up Displays Are the Future of Standalone GPS Devices

Despite the hype around the decline of Personal Navigation Devices and the rise of smartphone applications, there is a long-term future for dedicated GPS devices, according to market analysis firm ABI Research.

Total GPS device revenues are forecast to grow from $6.5 billion in 2011 to over $8 billion in 2017, according to their research. With the exception of PNDs, all device categories grew in 2011, including cycling computers, golf caddies, and recreational devices.

“With over 40 GPS watches available in 2012, this is the standout device category,“ explained senior analyst Patrick Connolly. “Motorola, Epson, New Balance, Magellan, and Polar all entered the market, with a number of others lining up devices for 2013. We will also see increasing partnerships between device manufacturers and smartphone application developers, which is vital in extending reach and opening up new sales channels.”

“Looking to the future, the GPS-enabled eyewear market is expected to expand beyond skiing into winter sports and fitness, as well opening up new markets such as motorcycling, making it one of the strongest device revenue categories by 2017.”

As an example of that Recon Instruments, the current leader in Sport Heads-up display (listen our podcast here) has recently expanded its product range from skiing to skydiving.

ABI Research practice director Dominique Bonte added, “Looking at the competitive environment, Garmin is already showing that it can continue to grow despite significant declines in its PND business, but they also face increasing competition from the likes of TomTom/Nike, Mitac, Pioneer, Suunto, Recon Instruments, and a host of sporting apparel and watch manufacturers.”

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