With the continued proliferation of auto satnav, handheld Personal Navigation Devices (PNDs) and mobile phone navigational functionality, consumers are being offered ever more choice in the way they experience navigation and location-based information. Hence it was interesting to see the penetration of navigation technologies into the population when digital map provider Navteq released excerpts from its global research recently. In 2009, roughly half of all people in mature markets such as US, UK, France and Germany had used navigation devices - roughly double the number from 2006. The research also concluded that mobile consumers are very interested in pedestrian navigation too. The time is unquestionably near when we’ll all be reliant on our handheld devices for finding our way around.

The following excerpts are from NAVTEQ's Annual Tracking Study, NAVTEQ's Traffic Study, New Pedestrian Navigation Product Research.


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Consumer experience with navigation is double what it was just a few years ago; but even in mature markets it has reached only around 50%

    In a NAVTEQ Tracking Study, 48% of respondents in the US said that they had used navigation, up from 22% in 2006. Another 48% of respondents were familiar with navigation, but had never used it. For Europe, the same study showed that in 3 of the most mature markets (UK, France and Germany) 53% of respondents had used navigation, up from 26% in 2006. Another 41% were familiar with navigation but had not used it. If the results are expanded to include Poland, Czechoslovakia and Russia as well, the number of respondents who have used navigation falls to 49%, with another 47% saying they are familiar with it. In APAC (China and south Asia), only 34% of respondents said that they had used navigation; another 58% were familiar with it.

Globally, consumers have the most experience with portable devices; their use of navigation via an in-car system or mobile device is at lower and relatively similar levels

    In the same tracking study, 44% of respondents in the US said that they had used portable navigation (another 49% were “familiar” with PNDs). Reported use was 25% for in-car navigation and 21% for mobile phone navigation. In Europe, 47% of respondents said that they had used portable navigation and another 47% were “familiar.” Reported use of in-car navigation was 19% and mobile navigation use was 25%. APAC results were somewhat more equally aligned, with respondents’ stated use of portable navigation at 28%, versus 29% for mobile navigation and 17% for in-car navigation.

Consumers most frequently use in-car navigation systems, followed by PNDs and mobile devices

    54% of US respondents reported “Regular” use of their embedded navigation system, versus 41% for PNDs and 27% for mobile navigation. EU respondents showed a similar pattern, with 68% saying they regularly use an embedded navigation system, while that number was only 53% for PNDs and 37% for mobile navigation. In APAC, 67% regularly use their embedded navigation system versus 50% and 46% respectively for PNDs and mobile.

Consumers utilizing traffic services use their navigation system more than those without

    In a separate study regarding consumer views on real-time traffic services, 48% of US participants said that they used their navigation system more often than they did before they had access to real time traffic. The pattern was repeated in Europe, with 44% of respondents saying their navigation system usage had increased with the addition of real-time traffic access.

Interest in pedestrian navigation is real among mobile consumers

    In a Q3 global proprietary study conducted by NAVTEQ across 8 different countries, 2/3 of mobile phone consumers stated that they want a mapping service that provides both car and walking directions.