“Handset-based navigation will be stimulated by convergence trends and technological advances in low-cost GPS-receiver integration, and improved indoor coverage,” says ABI Research principal analyst Dominique Bonte. “Driven by the involvement of cellular carriers, off-board handset-based navigation will grow strongly in North America, reaching a sales volume of 21 million units by 2012. It will be a catalyst for the uptake of location-based services such as search, friend finder and tracking features.”
Europe is currently the leading navigation market, but ABI Research expects strong growth in developing countries such as China and India. “By 2012 more navigation systems will ship in Asia-Pacific than in any other region” said the research firm.
At the same time, a new research report by Berg Insight, shows that PND shipments in Europe and North America are expected to grow from 23 million units in 2007 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.2 percent to reach 53 million units in 2012. North America is forecasted to attain a higher growth of 33.7 percent CAGR while growth in Europe will slow down to 14.9 percent CAGR over the period. “This year marked the definite mass-market breakthrough for PNDs in North America”, said André Malm, telecom analyst, Berg Insight. “As the European market is becoming saturated, the US market will take over as the primary growth market for navigation.”
Berg’s report also highlights online connectivity as an emerging trend in the navigation business. “PNDs face intense competition from handset-based navigation applications and voice services”, commented Mr Malm. “Next generation advanced features like traffic information and local search are interactive and require real-time communication. If PNDs do not have that, consumers will start looking for alternative solutions.”