Last month GoPro floated its shares on the US stock market for the first time, starting at a price of $24 per share and rising by 30% on the first day – almost unheard of outside of other tech giant flotations like Facebook and the like. Oh, and the Post Office.
The company was started only twelve years ago by Nick Woodman, funded by selling hand made belts out the back of a van.
But far be it for WL to claim ourselves as stock market experts – numbers tend to hurt our powder addled brains – but we can just about comprehend sales figures. Here, again, GoPro boggles the mind: last year GoPro grabbed a whopping 45% share of the US camcorder market, unbelievable considering was started only twelve years ago by Nick Woodman, funded by selling hand made belts out the back of a van.
Not only that, they were also the biggest selling camcorder in the US by units and sales last year, netting just shy of a billion dollars in revenue. Impressive stuff again.
But GoPro doesn’t make all of that profit just from selling the camera units – many many dollars of that will have come from selling the all important accessories. Some of them essential, some of them not so much.
Eagle eyed third party developers have obviously clocked on to this, coming up with a raft of add ons for the action cam. Some of them are great – we at WL love our sturdy poles (ha!) made by SP Gadgets - others have a faint whiff of jumping aboard the good ship GoPro for a sniff of the profits.
For instance, in the last week alone we have received press release emails for: an iPhone case with a built in GoPro mount, an app for adding filters to GoPro footage, a GoPro specific home cloud storage and a torch to mount on the side of a GoPro case.
You can even sidestep buying an action cam and mount your iPhone directly onto your head, if you so desire.
Toshiba and Sony are both moving into the action cam market, which already has stiff competition from Ion, Drift, Contour et al. You can even sidestep buying an action cam and mount your iPhone directly onto your head, if you so desire.
In short, much like the rockered camber boom spearheaded by Lib Tech spawned multiple imitations, varieties and flavours, the GoPro has picked up the mantle, arguably driving a large proportion of innovation and design in the action sports market.
Is it too much? Have we reached ‘peak GoPro‘? Is enough enough, or are there more accessories you’d like to see brought to the market? And more importantly, what will be the next Big Thing®?
Worth keeping in mind as well is the fact that, according to market watchers, GoPro are soon to be making moves to become a media giant à la Red Bull. Indeed, much of its stock market value is supposedly based around this future strategy rather than its potential to sell more cameras. And in a way, a camera hardware company does make more sense as a multi media outlet than a soft drink. So… with the possibility of a GoPro TV channel, events, magazine – maybe even a dedicated ‘GoPro instagram’ (who knows?) – how do you feel about the advent of a new selfie-based media age?
And is the GoPro on its way out anyway? Like the BBC pointed out in May, now that ‘to gopro’ is - like ‘googling’ or ‘hoovering’ - a verb in its own right (meaning: to shoot something with an action cam) does that spell the end of their domination? Or is the product just too strong?