Navigation devices & usage - Statistics & Facts

With the advent of smartphones navigational systems and services are beginning to be integrated into one device without the need for separate navigational devices. As a result, the global market for singular use PNDs (portable navigation devices) has shrunk in recent years. The market peaked in 2011 with 48 million in unit shipments. By 2015, however, that number had decreased to around 23 million units. Furthermore, just 3.2 million PNDs were sold in North America in 2015 - only one sixth of the amount sold in 2009 when almost 18 million units were sold. The downward trend since 2009 can also be seen in the profits of some of the leading PND manufacturers such as TomTom and Garmin.


PNDs are increasingly being replaced by smartphones which often come with built-in navigation systems or have third-party applications available to purchase. Google Maps for example has a market reach of more than 90 percent amongst Android users worldwide. Nokia HERE, Nokia’s own mapping and location software, is also a considerable force in the market with net sales of around 1 billion euros in 2015.

Moreover, navigation systems have recently been employed in the leisure market, as seen by the recent rise in popularity of activities such as geocaching. In this activity participants use a GPS receiver or other navigational devices to hide and seek containers called “(geo)caches” anywhere in the world. In the United States alone there were over half a million active geocachers in 2016. These navigation systems are also used in the health and fitness market to allow users to keep track of their exercise progress.

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Navigation devices & services - Important statistics

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