Wearable Tech Taking Off – Garmin Connect App Sees Increased Adoption

Wearable Computing Picks UpAccording to App Annie’s report “Spotlight on connected devices: Welcome to your wired life” the top five Health and Fitness apps for connected devices collectively grew over 2.3x in monthly downloads since August 2013.

As of August 2014, the Garmin Connect app is the #3 Health and Fitness app for connected devices, behind the Fitbit app and the Up by Jawbone app, and ahead of the Nike+ Fuelband app. We believe this implies that Garmin has reached the #3 spot in the activity monitor category, only 6 months after introducing the vivofit, validating the basis of our upgrade on March 25. Once one includes all Health and Fitness apps (not just the ones for connected devices), the Fitbit app rank drops to #3 in August, Up by Jawbone to #44 and Garmin Connect to #62

Interestingly, according to an April 2014 Mobiquity commissioned consumer survey, “more than half of today’s health and fitness app users plan to incorporate a wearable device into their lives,” suggesting that the proliferation of fitness apps designed for smartphones is likely to drive activity tracker sales (and potentially smartwatches too), and not cannibalize them.

The top fitness apps designed for smartphones have much higher ratings than the apps used with connected fitness devices – and are downloaded much more often implying that makers of wearable devices need to design better apps to increase user satisfaction and drive sales of their wearables. Garmin has redesigned its Garmin Connect app earlier this year ahead of the vivofit launch, but the Garmin Connect app continues to lag behind the Fitbit app and the Up by Jawbone app in terms of user satisfaction.

The GoPro App is gaining momentum – it’s a top 50 “Photography” app this year vs. a top 100 “Photography” app last year. On the iOS app store, the GoPro App ranked #47 in Photography during the first 5 days of HERO4 retail availability vs. #52 in the prior 5 days. We believe these changes are relatively immaterial when compared to the lift-off in GoPro App downloads observed during the last Christmas Holidays. The GoPro App skyrocketed from a top 50 app the week leading to Christmas 2013 to a top 20 app in the days following Christmas.

However, we cannot rule out the possibility of stronger capture device sales than implied by the GoPro App download stats, as existing GoPro users may be buying the HERO4 without having to download the app again, while the new $130 HERO is not a connected device (no built-in Wi-Fi).

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