In-Dash Navi Reaches Turning Point

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pioneer-avic-8200nex_2 in-dash navigation

In-dash navigation sales are down this year and some blame CarPlay and Android Auto.

Even while CarPlay has been available for well over a year now, with its iPhone-generated maps that made in-dash navigation redundant, consumers have continued to want the peace of mind of having  built-in navigation as a backup.

But over the past few months, retailers have seen a shift, as consumers seem to be more comfortable with buying AV-only radios (without navigation) and using their smartphone for navigating, especially if the deck includes CarPlay or Android Auto’s simple interface.

According to the NPD Group, in-dash navigation  unit sales are down 6 percent, January through August, compared to the same period last year.

By contrast in-dash AV without navigation is up 36 percent for the same period over the year prior, it said.

In fact, people aren’t using in-dash navigation even when the car comes with it. A recent JD Power study, found that of those who didn’t bother to use their factory in-dash navigation, 71 percent said it was because they are using their smartphones to navigate instead.

Pioneer Electronics said it hasn’t seen an in-dash navigation decline yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s not expecting one.  VP Marketing Ted Cardenas said, “Our balance in our sales of the models [AV-only and navigation] has fluctuated very little in this calendar year.” But he added, “I wouldn’t go so far a to say we didn’t expect some decline.  But for whatever reason, embedded navigation sales have continued to be very solid.”   Pioneer’s recent product rebates may be part of the reason for its continued strong navigation sales.

Six out of 10 retailers we polled said in-dash navigation is down anywhere from 5 to 20 percent compared to last year.  Most cited CarPlay or apps like Waze as the reason.  Three retailers said in-dash navi sales are flat and Sound FX, RI said in-dash sales are up.

Sound FX’s VP of Operations Mark D’Elia has no explanation for the sudden rise in in-dash navigation. “I don’t understand it.  Last year it was slow, this year, we can’t keep navigation in stock. It makes no sense.”

Freeman’s Car Stereo of NC reported more typical results.  According to JR Stocks,  “In-dash navigation has declined a little, but it’s still a great business.”

As Tony Denke of Driven Audio in British Columbia, Canada said in an earlier CEoutlook story, “Last year if we showed people CarPlay, they still wanted navigation.”  This year, they don’t feel they need it. “The 40 plus crowds, they now are trusting their phones for navigation,” he said.

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  1. Maybe if companies like Kenwood would release product in a timely fashion, and then actually manufacture enough to accommodate the demand then these numbers would be different. As it stands now we need to order Kenwood source units, and there are “NONE” available. Seriously? It’s not even November, and we lose during the holiday season because Kenwood can’t keep up with demand!!

  2. I would think it’s safe to say that a part of the decline would be from the fact that kenwood didn’t have much to offer for about 3-4 months. For us we have seen Navigation remain pretty steady with Carplay being a reason many customers are upgrading from the traditional non-nav a/v units to a higher priced unit. Carplay and Android auto have become a driving force in getting people to upgrade and in the future will surely take a major bite out of Navigation units ….. especially when someone gets off their keister and builds units that will allow wireless function of carplay!

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