Personal GPS devices were revolutionary when they were first introduced. As accuracy improved, people on Earth were able to finally pinpoint, to within a few feet, their exact location on the Earth. When GPS navigation devices began hitting store shelves, drivers could stop worrying once and for all about becoming lost or taking to the road without a plan.
Today, market research firm ABI Research released a new report predicting that the market for dedicated GPS devices will continue to grow, at least through the next five years. The market is expected to grow slowly, rising from 33.3 million units last year to 36.8 million in 2018. Total revenues for the devices are expected to hit $7.4 billion in 2018.
This may seem surprising, as GPS technology can now be found in even low-priced smartphones. A wide array of smartphone and tablet apps utilize GPS to perform the functions that dedicated devices once served. GPS navigation software from Google has been on Android smartphones for years, and Apple has also implemented a navigation app for iPhones. Fitness apps also fill in for watches and handhelds previously used by bikers and hikers.
ABI is basing its growth prediction on the growth of dedicated GPS technology in emerging markets, stating that device formats and vertical markets will create sales in the industry. The firm does, however, acknowledge that smart devices, especially smart watches, will continue to put pressure on dedicated GPS devices in the near future.
“The markets for cycling computers, health/elderly, and fitness are starting to get interesting,” said Dominique Bonte, an analyst with ABI. “As ASPs decline and smart watches become a more established part of our lives, the addressable market will be eaten up, limiting the growth potential for dedicated fitness devices. Looking longer term, ABI Research has forecast very strong growth for HUD/eyewear devices, particularly in the fitness, golf, and cycling categories. It would not be surprising to see an acquisition in this space over the next 12 months.”
(Image courtesy TomTom)