GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) started 2017 in rough shape. The company's revenue was plummeting, it was burning through cash, and one of its newest products -- the Karma drone -- was just being recalled.
Sure, if you compare this year to 2016, GoPro did OK. The company got its Karma drone flying again (and making sales), it launched its new Hero 6 camera and has turned the corner on falling revenue.
But overall, 2017 didn't provide much for GoPro investors to write home about. Here's why.
GoPro shares failed to keep up with the market
Some investors may make the case that GoPro had a decent year, especially in light of the company's strong performance in its third quarter. But one strong quarter didn't make up for the company's poor showing throughout most of 2017, or the fact that GoPro shares failed to beat (or even match) the S&P 500. Take a look:
GoPro has dropped nearly 4% for the year (as of this writing), while the S&P 500 has ticked up more than 15%. This comes on top of GoPro's share price slide of nearly 52% in 2016.
Some good momentum, but not enough
GoPro did show some signs of life when it reported its third-quarter results in early November. The company grew revenue faster than expected -- with a 37% year-over-year jump -- and the company's earnings popped back into positive territory and beat analysts' consensus estimate.
But all of that good news was weighed down by management's guidance for the fourth quarter. Revenue is expected to be between $460 million to $480 million, which is a far cry from the $540.6 million in sales from the year-ago quarter.
Additionally, GoPro is expecting adjusted earnings per share between $0.37 and $0.47, below analysts' consensus estimate of $0.56 per share.
That's not great news considering that the calendar fourth quarter is typically a strong one for consumer product companies, and it indicates that GoPro probably won't end the year particularly well.
A couple of things to keep an eye on
While the company had a lackluster year, there are a couple of things that GoPro investors should be optimistic about heading into 2018.
The first is that the company had a successful launch of its new Hero 6 camera, which has helped boost GoPro's average selling prices (ASP) by 22% in the third quarter. That's great news considering that GoPro has struggled to maintain profitability in 2017. Hopefully, the premium-priced $500 Hero 6 will help drive more revenue and income in the coming year. To that end, GoPro recently introduced its new Fusion 360 camera. The camera costs $700 and allows users to film a 360-degree video for virtual reality.
Second, the Karma drone was a huge embarrassment when it was first launched last year, but it has since become the second-best-selling drone in the $1,000-plus category in the U.S. Strong Karma sales are certainly a step in the right direction for a company that has needed some revenue diversification for some time.
While these are positive moves, the jury is still out on how well 2018 will go for GoPro. Management's fourth-quarter guidance wasn't exactly reassuring and investors will need to closely watch whether or not all of these new products actually turn the company around. Here's to hoping for a much, much better 2018.