Mapping applications on smartphones are beginning to take their toll on sales of personal navigation devices (PNDs), which fell from 33 million units in 2011 to 28 million in 2012 according to Berg Insight.
Other factors the research firm identifies as impacting sales of PNDs include a maturing market – the number of units in operation is already high – as well as a loss of shelf space to higher value consumer electronic kit in retail outlets, and a general slow down in consumer spending in many mature markets around the world.
“The number of mobile subscribers worldwide using a turn-by-turn navigation app on their handset at least once per month grew from 105 million in 2011 to 150 million in 2012”, said André Malm, senior analyst at Berg Insight. He notes that around half of navigation subscribers currently use free apps supplied on their handset or from their mobile operator.
While PND shipments in 2012 grew in Eastern Europe, South America and India, it wasn’t enough to offset the overall downward trend. The future will see further erosion, with Berg predicting shipments will fall to 17 million units by 2017 as factors including auto makers installing navigation equipment in vehicles come into play.