MORGAN STANLEY: GoPro's marketing has been a failure, and it has even bigger issues that are about to get worse

Morgan Stanley is done with GoPro.

In a note to clients on Monday, GoPro cut its rating on shares of GoPro to Underweight from Equal Weight, effectively telling clients that right now, there is basically nothing to like about the company.

And the biggest problem? GoPro’s are hard to use and customers aren’t really buying them.

Here’s Morgan Stanley:

GoPro management has attributed weak response to the Session camera, and the associated price cuts (now $199 vs. original MSRP of $399) to poor consumer awareness exacerbated by poor launch timing (right around the July 4th holiday), minimal marketing, inappropriate pricing, and a host of other issues. We agree that all of those issues have contributed to poor demand, but believe that the bigger issue is that key challenges of off- loading, storage and editing content have not been adequately addressed for a product intended to be “taken anywhere to record everything.” The fact that the Session is intended to be used more than the other cameras in the GoPro line-up just makes those challenges worse — there is likely to be more footage and therefore a lower percentage of usable content.

Morgan Stanley put a $12 price target on shares of GoPro on Monday. This year alone the stock has lost about 70% of its value. In early trade on Monday were down about 5% to trade near $18 per share. Previously, Morgan Stanley had a $23 price target on the stock.

Back in October, Morgan Stanley cut its rating on GoPro to Equal Weight from Overweight due to poor sales of GoPro’s new Hero4 Session camera.

And in taking this rating down another notch on Monday, Morgan Stanley is still not impressed with sales of this unit.

Morgan Stanley wrote in its note on Monday that, “Almost all retailers we have spoken with are seeing [year-over-year] declines in sales, waning interest in the category and product availability mix shifting to lower price points.”

The firm added that, “channel inventory is unlikely to be declining fast enough to hit targeted levels by the end of the year to adequately reflect retailers’ reduced commitment to the product segment.”

In plain English, these two sentences indicate that no one wants to buy GoPro’s and no one wants to sell them.

And so it more or less seems, right now, like GoPro shares came to market at a time when people thought everyone would find it really fun to record everything they did and then put that footage on the internet.

Except doing that isn’t actually that easy. Or fun, perhaps.

But either way, people aren’t really buying GoPro’s anymore and retailers don’t want to sell them.

Here’s the ugly chart of GoPro’s stock this year.

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