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.