A couple of weeks ago, GoPro seemed to have a firm grip on both iPhone and Android users in China, but now it seems that has changed. New data from last week indicates that while Chinese iPhone users still show a preference toward GoPro’s cameras, Android users in China are now preferring the less expensive cameras made by domestic rival Xiaomi.
Google searches for GOPro still declining
Dougherty & Company analysts Charles Anderson and Jessica McHugh released their latest report on Google searches and sales of GoPro cameras in China on Monday. They found that global Google searches for GoPro fell 2% year over year last week compared to the same week last year. That’s a slight improvement from the previous week’s 3% decline year over year.
In the U.S. alone, GoPro searches declined 15% compared to last year. The previous week, searches for GoPro in the U.S. declined 14%.
Also YouTube searches for the camera manufacturer’s name were flat year over, which was the same as the previous week.
GoPro app plunges in popularity
Downloads of the GoPro app in the U.S. continued plunging year over year, falling down the iPhone chart 30% last week, adding to the previous week’s 36% decline. The app tumbled down the Google Play chart by 28% year over year, adding to the previous week’s 19% decline year over year. On the iPad charts, GoPro’s app plunged 41% down the chart, compared to the previous week’s 39% decline on the chart.
China affects U.S. stocks
China has been the big story for the last few weeks as the nation’s stock markets continue falling further and further, pulling other markets and popular U.S. stocks like Apple and GoPro down with it on Monday. The good news is other markets have recovered today, although the Chinese stock markets are still tumbling. Shares of Apple, GoPro and other popular U.S. stocks rallied today, with the former climbing as much as 5.4% to $108.68 and the latter rising as much as 2.9% to $49.25 per share today.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Monday in an email to CNBC’s Jim Cramer that their China sales continue to go strong as they noted an acceleration in iPhone activations there over the last few weeks. Other companies have not offered a glimpse into their China businesses, although Anderson’s and McHugh’s data offers an important clue for GoPro.
Tides turning for GoPro in China?
The Dougherty team compared sales of GoPro’s cameras to sales of Xiaomi’s action camera, which is priced under $100. The previous week, users of both the iPhone and Android phones in China preferred GoPro’s cameras, but this week, Android users appear to have defected to the cheaper Xiaomi camera.
They added that Xiaomi’s camera app was the 37th most-downloaded app in the Google Play store’s Photography section. GoPro’s app slipped to the 49th position.
On the iPhone, GoPro’s app was at 152nd place, compared to Xiaomi at the 222nd position in the App Store.
The analysts reiterated that GoPro’s brand is starting to mature, which is why the company’s unit growth was ahead of the Google Search numbers in the fourth quarter of 2014 and the first two quarters of last year. Of course the reason for this is because consumers are more aware of the GoPro brand now and thus don’t do as much research on it before deciding whether they want to buy one of the company’s cameras.
Of course app downloads also don’t include previous owners of GoPro cameras who bought a new model but already had the app downloaded on their phones. The number also includes downloads of the app by GoPro owners who simply got a new phone. Also downloads of GoPro’s app do not include buyers of the $130 HERO camera because it does not have Wi-Fi and thus doesn’t use the app.
GoPro making progress with media brand
Once again, GoPro’s media brand is a bright area in all of Dougherty’s data. The company added more than 16,000 subscribers to its YouTube channel last week, a 26% annual growth rate. Here’s a look at how GoPro’s YouTube channel stacked up to other popular media brands on the social network last week:
GoPro added more than 68,000 new Instagram followers as well, implying an annual growth rate of 56%. Here’s a look at how GoPro’s YouTube channel stacked up to other popular media brands on Instagram last week:
All graphs in this article are courtesy Dougherty & Company.