PND shipments fell to 22 million units while users of navigation apps grew to 180 million worldwide in 2013

PND shipments fell to 22 million units while users of navigation apps grew to 180 million worldwide in 2013

According to a new research report from the analyst firm Berg Insight, 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. 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 favour of other consumer electronics products. Competition from other navigation solutions, especially navigation apps, 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 car mounts enabling 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 solutions that connect the vehicle’s infotainment system with the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB or HDMI. It is then possible to display and control smartphone apps using the touchscreen and controls in the car.

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, Berg Insight, said:

“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.”

He adds that in most markets, smartphones from major vendors now come bundled with free navigation apps. The leading navigation service providers on a global basis include Google, Apple, Telenav, Appello Systems, Nokia and Garmin. Examples of major local players include AutoNavi and Careland in China, SK Planet in South Korea, NAVITIME and ZENRIN in Japan, as well as Navitel and Yandex in Russia. Despite increasing competition from free navigation apps, many mobile operators are still marketing their own navigation services developed by companies such as Telenav, TeleCommunication Systems and Appello Systems.

“App developers and operators are now trying to monetise 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”, concludes Mr Malm.

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