The company has been showing off new data that demonstrates the company’s strong and growing position in the wearables market. While it still makes navigation gear, that market has been caned by smartphones which pretty much do the same sort of thing. Now Garmin has gotten into wearables.
In fact the company was into this market fairly early when it introduced the Forerunner 201 in 2003. This was a GPS enabled wearable. Now it claims to have shipped more than 20 million wearable devices. Given the time span this is not as successful as Apple's iWatch, but then the scale is a little different and Garmin has managed to gain itself a small fanbase of its own which feed it more data.
The Garmin Connect online community was based on the idea that there was value in punters storing, tracking, analysing, and sharing of fitness and other data that its customers collect. Garmin Connect has over 15 million user accounts, with 5 million new users joining last year. Garmin Connect works by enabling users to compete with family and friends who also live active lifestyles. It also has backing from partners like Nike, Strava, MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness.
What this suggests is that for wearables to take off, it has to be more than just flogging hardware, which was what Apple did, but working that wearable into a community of those people interested in that devices' activity. Garmin also provided apps so that customers could build their own experience depending on the sort of things they wanted to do with their gear.
Cliff Pemble, Garmin president and CEOs said that the outfit was experiencing strong momentum in the wearables market as a result of an intentional focus on key strategies.
"We believe that wearable devices enable and enhance a broad range of active lifestyles, and we offer purpose-built devices designed specifically for those lifestyles,. To that we add a compelling online user community where users track their fitness goals and progress over time and motivate themselves and others to achieve even more. Finally, we offer a rich set of third party apps, widgets, and watch faces that allow users to customise their device making it both useful and fun. Garmin is a leader in the wearables market because we offer a broad and deep range of devices, a powerful user community, and personalisation enabled through third party apps.”