It’s official. The new must- have toy is a personal navigation device. Recently published Forrester Research data indicates that 31% of U.S. consumers use navigation systems. The most common type of system is located in a car or on a mobile phone. Growth rates in 2008 suggested that consumers may increasingly prefer a mobile phone application for navigation. In 2008, growth rates occurred as follows:
- Portable navigation device: 8%
- Phone-based solution: 49%
In 2009, the number of fixed (in autos) navigation devices sold dropped 9%. However, this decrease was actually a less severe drop than those experienced by other car electronics categories such as in-dash CD players (-12%) and power amplifiers (-27%). In addition, the number of portable navigation devices sold in 2009 dropped 23%. These decreases may partially be explained by the general slowing of auto sales in the U.S. in 2009 and the overall effects of the recession.
Consumers are clearly interested in turn by turn directions as they travel. Traditionally, products like TomTom and Garmin have enjoyed solid market shares and they have been updated to include features such as tracking traffic information via mobile connections. But the market for navigation systems may be about the change. Jason Ankeny, writing for Fierce Mobile Content, notes that Google Maps, combined with Android 2.0, is being offered for free and supported by ads.
The future of the personal navigation industry may well rest on who can provide the service that connects best with consumers. Either way, vendors will be marketing these products and services in an attempt to maintain or increase market share.[Sources: Gilroy, Amy. GPS Consumer Penetration. TWICE. Fall 2009; Car Electronics Sales by Category, TWICE, December 2009; Ankeny, Jason. Navigation applications will shift, Fierce Mobile Content. 1.4.10]