Navigation in India: smooth sail or a bumpy ride

Nov 2008 | No Comment

Amit Prasad, Shivalik Prasad, Ashutosh Pande, Raghvendra rishnamurthy Shashank N Dhaneshwar, Alok Shankar

Perspectives on key factors aiding and affecting in-car navigation in India.

Alok Shankar

Managing Director,

PND in India definitely holds a lot of potential, but it will not be “bed of roses”

It is still too early to say about the incar navigation’s success in India, as the navigation segment is in its infancy stage here. Globally, the PND (Personal Navigation Device) is a promising product category with market penetration of only about 6%, thus offering a big opportunity for all the players in the supply chain of this industry. Western Europe and North America currently stand at 15% and 4% respectively.

With the rapid growth of the GPS market in countries like China and India, majority of the navigation devices are anticipated to be shipped in the Asia-Pacific region by 2012. Lack of high quality map data and regional variances in navigating set some obstacles for navigation market’s growth in Asia. As an example, in some countries people are accustomed to navigate by landmarks rather than the street names, which might not even exist.

In India, people are still unaware of GPS, but the navigation industry is expected to grow as new improved maps and navigation products are being launched in major cities. Though the satellite navigation industry has high barriers of entry; the enormous market opportunity is attracting a slew of players. Few leading players who are early to market with the best quality maps, large geographic coverage, userfriendly UI and a good after-sales support, are to dominate the market.

Brightpoint India is also looking at this opportunity. Having the vision ‘to be the market leader in the distribution of navigation devices’, Brightpoint has developed great relationships with leaders like Garmin in the PND space. In India, a lot has to be done to educate the market about the benefits of navigation. Consumers ask – “why should I buy this navigation device?” PND devices are still rather expensive for an average Indian consumer, and people are confused about the cost of navigation. PND can help finding a way to a destination and to reduce the travel time, but directions can also be sought by asking any passerby. So, what will be the influencing factor for a consumer to make the purchase decision?

To create that “value for money” proposition, synergies have to be met. Indian government has to reduce import & local taxes and navigation companies have to promote the benefits such as safety for women travelers, route planning, effective time utilization etc. Furthermore, Value Added Services such as live traffic updates and on-line hotel bookings can increase the attention for PND devices. Today Nokia is creating the navigation category in mobile phones, and it could well be so that Indian consumers will opt to skip the PNDs and go with the improved navigation experience offered by mobiles.

Worldwide statistics from 2007 show that PNDs dominated the GPS device market with more than 90% market share. So, PND in India definitely holds a lot of potential, but it certainly will not be a “bed of roses”.

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