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Market Share Changes


Lots of people have been commenting recently on the numbers recently released by market research firm The NPD group. At first glance the numbers look quite interesting, but they are not very surprising. In the chart below (click to enlarge) you can see how much market share the three big North America GPS players had in North America. The data is based on unit sales from October through December, and compares 2006 to 2007.

NPD GPS Market Share DataThe biggest piece of data visible is that Garmin lost a good deal of market share from year to year. But Garmin probably doesn’t have much to worry about. They still hold a lead, and they also kept a commanding lead when it comes to total dollars of sales. That is understandable given the higher price points seen during the holiday season. The bottom end Nuvi devices were offered at around $200 while the bottom end TomTom’s were around $150. The Magellan RM 1200 was even less. Holiday shoppers tend to shop at the bottom end, so it is no surprise TomTom and Magellan pushed lots of units off store shelves.

The data also shows further consolidation of the market, with the “other” companies losing share to the big three. In the fall of 2006 Mio in particular saw the potential at the bottom end of the line and sold an impressive amount of devices at low price-points. This year other companies were there with them to match their low prices.

So if you are a consumer as opposed to an investor what does this all mean to you? Probably not much which is why we rarely comment on the business side of things. There could be one important message though. Sticking with some of the bigger brands is a good idea. We saw some consolidation of the market recently and anticipate seeing more of that in the future. A year or two down the road you will likely want to update the maps in your GPS… will that smaller less known brand be around to offer continued map updates? Perhaps not. In 2008 Garmin, TomTom, Magellan, Mio, and NAVIGON will continue to hold most of the market and are the best bets for getting future support for your device.

It is also nice to see the playing field getting a little bit more leveled out. Increased competition should help drive further innovation.

(Users in our forums discuss.)

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