Will GoPro Give up on Targeting the Average Consumer?

Will GoPro Give up on Targeting the Average Consumer?

A decade ago, GoPro was the highest selling action camera brand in the world; however, the company’s attempts to expand into the mainstream have resulted in their inability to compete with the enormous popularity of the smartphone.

As a result of GoPro’s recent attempts to return to profitability, the company has just completed its third round of layoffs in just over a year. With an estimated restricting bill of up to $10 million (mainly relating to severance costs), the company faces the tough and possibly unrealistic task of convincing people with smartphones to purchase an additional camera.

Company CEO and Founder Nick Woodman recently took part in an interview with CNBC announcing: “we failed to make GoPro contemporary and failed to align GoPro to the smartphone movement. The smartphone has set a new bar for convenience.” Woodman’s comments reflect the company’s recent slump in shares (falling 76% from 2014) and even after stock rising 15% due to cost cuts, GoPro is far from being out of the woods. There have been recent struggles following the launch of both the Hero 5 Session camera and the Karma drone, with price drops and the drone being recalled due to production issues. While GoPro action cameras may not be considered ideal for conventional photography, due to the absence of a viewfinder, it is still worth remembering exactly what this clever little compact camera has to offer.

The GoPro cameras offer an array of useful features including a super wide-angle lens (which is durable, shockproof, and can be waterproof), convenient expandable storage, recently updated touch screen, improved 4K videos, superior image quality, and the advantage of the photographer being able to mount their small and compact camera virtually anywhere. Smartphones currently have accessories on the market that are designed to assist in mounting the camera; however, they can prove to be both cumbersome and limiting when shooting extreme action footage. What the smartphone does bring to the table, however, is convenience. In a world where instant gratification often supersedes quality, the conundrum between the two rivals is set to continue well into the foreseeable future. 

[via Business Insider]

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14 Comments

Spy Black's picture

Frankly, I don't think it has anything to do with smartphones at all. It has to do with real-world action camera competition. Most people don't strap their cellphones where they put action cameras. Today there's plenty of cameras that can give you what GoPros give you for a fraction of the price. Greed is what's killing GoPro. I knew the moment they went public it would be the beginning of the end for them.

Kyle Medina's picture

DING! DING! DING!

Michael Kormos's picture

iPhone 7 is waterproof and dustproof. I take it with me to the beach and pool to film the kids. Places where I'd only take the GoPro previously.

Jim Wilson's picture

I think that is probably very true. I was a GoPro user and tried a Sony 1000POV as a test. My GoPro gear hasn't seen the light of day since and I have six POV 1000 cameras now. Pricing was similar, end product produced was not.

Brian Dowling's picture

Gopro spent all their R&D money on sponsorships.

Just by looking into overweight population statistics no wonder why they can't make any money by selling action cameras. People prefer stay at home and do sport on Xbox instead of going out :)

Henning Nilsen's picture

That's simply not true though. I can only speak for my own country, but it has seen continuous growth of people spending their time in the ourdoors. And despite the last two terrible seasons, alpine resorts are seeing increased amounts of bookings for easter. As well as sporting stores selling more cross country and alpine equipment than ever before.

Aaron Moore's picture

How is Xbox responsible for Go Pro's struggle? That's like saying Street Outlaws are the reason Nascar has seen a decline in attendance and tv ratings! Go Pro's problem isn't smartphones. It's problem is that the competition brought something to the table Go Pro didn't. The author never specified which of Go Pro rivals and how they are succeeding where they fell short. I suspect the Go Pro's CEO is looking to sell this company to another group just to stop the bleeding permanently!

While gopro was an innovator at one time, they have failed to grab the consumer as of late. A lot of people have ditched having a computer in favor of a smart phone or tablet. Editing 4K video is not even in the realm of most people, so the price point of a 4K camera is too much for them when they will not use it. Get a GoPro made for $99,00 and they will fly off the shelves. Lose 4K and make it easier to use for the "slow" people and you will win a larger portion of buyers cash

Robin Browne's picture

You are so right.

Brian Pernicone's picture

I don't really get the point of this article. It tells us all the reasons GoPro is struggling and ends with a paragraph about why it's still pretty good. Sounds like a PR puff piece that acknowledges the shortcomings but insists "We're still awesome!" Burak's photography work is unquestionably excellent and he appears to have no relationship to GoPro, so please don't let my comment infer I think he is being paid for this story. The story simply doesn't address the question posed in the headline (which may or may not have been written by Burak, I don't know).

What are other action cameras doing better and what is their price point? As Spy Black noted, smartphones aren't really GoPro's competition, so what does Woodman's statement really mean?

This is an interesting topic that needs stronger reporting to fully flesh out the issues at GoPro.

Sorry, no - you failed with abysmal customer service & support. That opened the door for competitors to exploit.

Robin Browne's picture

Price. I bought a Wing Man with all the mounts for around $100.00 and it has a rear screen.

Woodman is making the usual smartphone excuse. While there is some truth in it, GoPro's poor upgrade cycle, delays and inability to introduce new features is what's killing them. For instance:

(1) By using a 1/1.7" sensor instead of the 1/2" one, they can afford an extra stop of DR and light sensitivity which is important with more vloggers and filmmakers. Especially when they use more powerful editing software. The interesting part is that they can still keep the existing classic form factor and compatibility.
(2) More Chinese OEM suppliers (like Oppo) have introduced OIS for small sensors. This is a boon for action cameras and is a game-changer. Sony beat them to it.
(3) They didn't even try to significantly improve battery life nor frame rates such as YiCam. I own 3 Hero4 for my work and am sadly disappointed with the Hero5.

I hope Hero6 does give me a reason to stay. The competition has already caught up and overtaking them.