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PND sales fell in 2013, while navigation app users rose

According to a new research report, global shipments of Personal Navigation Devices (PNDs) declined from 28 million units in 2012 to 22 million units in 2013. There are signs that the decline is slowing and some emerging markets still experience growth. However, on the whole, the PND market is set for a continued downturn on a global basis. The report from industry analysts, Berg Insight forecasts that PND shipments will decline to only 10 million units worldwide in 2019. A number of developments are affecting the PND market. Retailers have reduced shelf space and marketing for PNDs in favor of other consumer electronics products. Competition from other navigation systems, especially smartphone navigation applications, is also intensifying. Over time, PNDs will also face further competition from in-dash navigation systems, as more car brands launch low cost systems. Moreover, the installed base of PNDs is already high and replacement cycles are likely to be prolonged, since PNDs have matured considerably and many devices are now sold with lifetime map updates, giving users less reason to replace their existing devices as frequently.

The user experience for handset-based navigation apps is now improving through better integration in the car. Some vendors have released NFC-enabled (Near-Field Communication) car mounts, allowing the owner to configure the handset to turn on the GPS and launch a navigation app when the phone is placed in the mount. A majority of car manufacturers have also started to offer smartphone integration systems that connect the vehicle’s infotainment system with the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth, WiFi, USB or HDMI. It is then possible to display and control smartphone apps using the touchscreen and controls in the car. The study says higher smartphone adoption along with broader availability of low cost and free navigation apps are important factors for the continued increase in usage of mobile navigation services worldwide.

André Malm, senior analyst at Berg Insight, commented, “The number of mobile subscribers worldwide using a turn-by-turn navigation app on their handset at least once per month grew from 150 million in 2012 to 180 million in 2013. In most markets, smartphones from major vendors now come bundled with free navigation apps. App developers and operators are now trying to monetize navigation apps by introducing premium features and advertising. Developers are also forced to reduce costs as competition increases, for instance by adopting OpenStreetMap data to reduce map licensing fees.”

September 19, 2014

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