In-Dash Car GPS Driving Market - InformationWeek

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In-Dash Car GPS Driving Market

Sales of the more expensive installed navigation devices are growing much faster than portable GPS units.

U.S. sales of in-dash car navigation technology are growing a lot faster than portable navigation devices, which is the most popular market segment, a research firm said.

In June, unit sales of in-dash navigation products rose by 26% over the same month a year ago, while unit sales of mobile navigation gadgets grew by only 4%, the NPD Group said Tuesday. Sales of in-dash devices have been strong all year. Unit sales increased 36% from January through June, despite availability of lower-cost options, such as portable navigation devices and strong consumer adoption of GPS-enabled handsets.

Helping to drive sales is the decline in the average price of in-dash navigation. The unit price in June fell 26% from a year ago to $701.

Fully 40% of all in-dash unit sales were in the $600 to $699 range, up from 15% last year, NPD said. People buying portable navigation devices are looking to pay much less, as 84% of all PND units sold in June were less than $200.

The best value in in-dash navigation is aftermarket units, which offer a large navigation screen and advanced multimedia features. "While aftermarket in-dash navigation systems still command a significant premium over in-vehicle systems that offer only audio and video capabilities, these navigation products cost significantly less than those offered as factory options from many car manufacturers," NPD analyst Ross Rubin said in a statement.

Within the larger market segment of PNDs, vendors are offering GPS-enabled devices more specialized than ever, particularly in the sport and handheld category, where there are units designed for running, cycling, golf, hunting, fishing, boating, and more. While detailed maps can be added to the devices, they typically bring an additional cost.

Supporting PNDs is a growing number of location-based services from online social networks, such as Facebook and MySpace. The market for such services is expected to top $13 billion in the next five years, according to ABI Research.

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