Fitbit Inc Retreats While GoPro Inc Rises On Surprising App Data

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Both Fitbit and GoPro are on track to end the year in the red, although Fitbit has significantly outperformed GoPro so far year to date. The latter has absolutely no chance to end 2015 in the positive as its shares have tumbled by more than 70% this year, while the former is only down by about 1%, giving it a chance to turn to the positive by Thursday.

We’re starting to get in data on how both companies’ apps performed on Christmas Day and the day after, and while Fitbit did the best by far, GoPro’s performance was not as bad as expected.

Fitbit’s app was the most-downloaded app on iOS

Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt said in a report dated Dec. 28 that app download rankings are a key indication of how well gadget makers like Fitbit and GoPro did this holiday shopping season. Specifically, he focused in on downloads on Christmas Day and the day after Christmas because people who received devices as gifts are most likely downloading their respective apps on these two days.

He looked only at iOS App Store downloads for the apps in the U.S. and found that Fitbit took the top spot on both Christmas Day and the day after Christmas this year, marking significant improvements from last year.

Although he didn’t chart the fitness wearable maker’s international app downloads, he called its performance “pretty impressive” as it landed in the top spot for most downloads in the health and fitness category in many countries outside the U.S. It also took the top spot overall in Australia.

GoPro surprises this holiday season

GoPro’s app downloads also improved, and McCourt said the camera maker was perhaps the biggest surprise in the app rankings. The company’s shares plunged this year amid numerous reports that it is having trouble moving inventory and two price cuts for its newest camera, the Session. The camera maker’s business hit the brakes in August and since then, sales have appeared to be sluggish. However, the Raymond James analyst thinks that based on the surprising app download data, many of the price changes GoPro made over the holiday season worked.

“Although we suspect this will have no impact on 4Q revenues, if this download data is indicative of surprising strength in the gift-giving season for GoPro, the company may end up in a better channel inventory perspective exiting 4Q than many expect,” he wrote.

One thing that is important to note that the app download data for GoPro excludes purchases of the low-end HERO camera because it does not work with the app, so it’s harder to deduce how many consumers may have bought or received the company’s least expensive model.

Overall trends for GoPro still declining

Dougherty & Company analysts Charles Anderson and Jessica McHugh said in a report also dated Dec. 28, however, that Christmas Day was the only exception to the negative trends for GoPro last week.

“In other words, it appears that many more people received a GoPro for Christmas and immediately downloaded the companion app than a year ago,” they wrote in their report. “Thus, the story for GoPro this holiday appears to be that less [sic] people than a year ago took advantage of promotional pricing to buy one for themselves, but more people received GoPros as gift.”

Here’s a look at how GoPro fared against some of its major competitors:


Overall for the week, they saw a 25% year over year global decline for Google searches for GoPro, compared to the previous week’s 11% decline.


In the U.S., the decline was 27% year over year, compared to 13% the previous week.


YouTube searches for the action camera maker declined 27% year over year, compared to the previous week’s 14% decline.


The Dougherty team also found a 24% year over year decline in downloads for the GoPro app on the iPhone in the U.S., compared to the previous week’s 12% decline. The app fell 16% in the Google Play store and 17% on the iPad.


Anderson and McHugh said that although it seems that these numbers run counter to the strong performance on Christmas Day, they are overall averages, meaning that the app ranked extremely low in the days leading up to Christmas.

GoPro favored over Xiaomi in China

Another bright area in the overall trends data for GoPro is that last week, Chinese consumers appeared to favor the U.S.-based camera maker over the major domestic competitor, Xiaomi. The two companies have been going head to head in China since the latter released its action camera.


These trends have all continued throughout the year, but it is important to note that, in addition to not being able to track sales of the least expensive HERO model, the brand is also maturing, so fewer searches are needed to learn more about it. Also app downloads don’t take into account people who downloaded the app onto a new phone for a camera they already had or repeat camera buyers who already had the app on their phones.

Shares of Fitbit declined by as much as 1.91% to $29.22 per share, while GoPro shares rose by as much as 1.79% to $18.24 per share during regular trading hours today.

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