Market Snapshot


SEMA research shows young adult and middle-age consumers own GPS navigation systems in near equal measure (youth holding the edge by about 2%). A new study by ABI Research explores the difference in which nav devices the two age groups prefer.

Everyone loves the convenience of portable navigation units, but age and technological confidence divide user preferences, according to a study by ABI Research, a technology research firm.

ABI conducted an online survey of 750 navigation users, both those who use portable navigation devices (PNDs), such as the popular dash-mounted units made by Garmin, Tom Tom and others, and those who use personal digital assistants (PDAs), including mobile phones. The study found that those 35 or younger preferred to navigate using mobile phones or hand-held PDAs, while older consumers preferred dealer- or specialist-installed in-dash or dash-mounted systems.

“With navigation solutions quickly spreading to all age groups in society, it becomes increasingly important for navigation vendors to offer products which address the different needs of the different age segments," says ABI Research Director Dominique Bonte.

The report adds that younger groups are more comfortable adapting to new and complicated technology, while older consumers look for plug-and-play items that work out of the box.

SEMA’s annual Automotive Lifestyles Study reveals similar results (although the specific use of navigation through mobile phones has not been examined). Slightly more younger consumers own navigation systems, although far more younger consumers own in-dash multimedia units that provide navigation features in addition to music and video functions.

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