Garmin reported a 4 percent sales increase to $427.9 million in the outdoor segment for the financial year ended last Dec. 27, but there was a decline of 8 percent in the fourth quarter. Flat sales are expected in 2015.
The quarterly gross margin and the operating margin remained strong at 62 percent and 35 percent of sales, respectively, but the company had to cope with the maturiy of the traditional handheld GPS business and a slowdown of the golf sector. It is introducing new wearable devices for the outdoor sector and new dog training and tracking systems as well as a new version of its action camera.
On the other hand, Garmin's sales in the fitness segment jumped by 60 percent to $568.4 million last year, with an even faster growth rate of 70 percent in the fourth quarter.
The strong progress allowed Garmin to offset a decline in the automotive sector and to reach an overall sales increase of 9 percent to $2,870.6 million for 2014.
The group's gross and operating margins improved to 56 percent and 24 percent, respectively, across the group. In fitness, Garmin generated a strong 61 percent gross margin, but the operating margin declined to 29 percent because of aggressive spending on advertising and point of sale displays.
Garmin feels that fitness will again the biggest contributor to its growth in 2015 following the launch of new products such as the Vivoactive GPS-enabled smartwatch. Other new product introductions are planned in cycling and running.