Fitness GPS watches gaining ground on outdoor units

Active consumers increasingly preferred fitness GPS watches over their outdoor unit counterparts this holiday season, according to the latest sales figures released by Garmin on Wednesday.
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Active consumers increasingly preferred fitness GPS watches over their outdoor unit counterparts this holiday season, according to the latest sales figures released by Garmin on Wednesday.

The Swiss-based GPS maker (Nasdaq: GRMN) reported its fitness product sales up 10 percent to $104 million in the fourth quarter 2012, while its outdoor GPS unit sales fell 2 percent to $119 million.

While overall outdoor units still outsell fitness units for Garmin, the healthy holiday gains in the fitness sector could serve as a signal for specialty retailers to adjust some of their product selections to include a few more fitness watches, which focus on tracking performance.

Garmin officials additionally noted that the fitness gains should have been even stronger if it had not been for some production delays. They expect stronger gains for fitness in 2013.

Earlier this year, rival Magellan also took note of the trend, announcing its entry into the fitness GPS category. And SNEWS saw plenty of new outdoor and fitness watch products debut at this past Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.

GPS makers like Garmin, Magellan and DeLorme are desperately looking to ramp up their outdoor and fitness products in the face of declining auto and personal navigation device GPS sales as more consumers turn to smartphones for their source for urban navigation.

Outdoor and fitness products ended up accounting for 26 percent ($724 million) of Garmin’s total sales in 2012, up from 21 percent ($560 million) in 2010.

Click here for a complete look at Garmin’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 earnings released Feb. 20, 2013.

--David Clucas

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