GPS Tracklog On Garmin’s Pricing Structure

Rich over at GPS Tracklog has suggested Garmin may have a new pricing structure for Personal Navigation Devices.

Last month ABI Research issued a report saying that Personal Navigation Device (PND) manufacturers seem to be “moving away from mass market consumer goods to becoming low volume, high value.” While I take issue with their analysis showing that “nearly one-third of all products offered on the market are above the US$500 mark,” I do think they are onto something.

The fact is, we’re already seeing this trend. Garmin may be  stepping up enforcement of their minimum advertised price (MAP) program — I’m not seeing PNDs discounted very much, especially at the high-end. We’re still seeing the upper-end of the Advanced nuvi series selling at their list price on Amazon, a full six months after these units started shipping. Significant discounts are mostly relegated to prior generation units.

It seems like Garmin has realized that they can’t really expand the PND market, and their goal may now be to extract whatever they can from their existing customer base. Doesn’t exactly leave you with the warm fuzzies, huh?

What do you think? Does my speculation ring true?

If the GPS Tracklog/ABI Research theory is correct it is not really much of a surprise. In the geocaching world it seems that dedicated GPS units are being passed by in favour of our smart phones.

Frankly that makes sense. Why bother uploading the GPX into the Oregon to grab that easy PnG. Especially when you could just drive up, download the details on the spot, find the cache and then log it.

A dedicated GPS still has it’s place, but that seems to be confined to the great outdoors where something more rugged is required and the trip is likely to take longer.

So with a changing [read: declining] market then you want to try and get as much as possible out of the last remaining dedicated GPS stalwarts.

But I can’t help thinking that Garmin, and the other GPS manufacturers, have missed the boat on a golden opportunity in the rugged high sensitivity GPS/mobile phone area. It was unfortunate the Garminfone was in development at the time the iPhone became all powerful, otherwise things might have been very different.



  1. Pete

    Garmin missed the boat. Instead of a rugged mobile nav-phone, they went proprietary with Whereigos and Chirps. Comms were limited to details zapping between Garmin devices. They really had no insight into the marketplace.

    My 60 is tired, scratched, buttons worn down. I really find it hard to bring myself to replace it. And if/when I do, it will probably be a low-end mapping unit, as lightweight as possible,in the event I need something that can be in the rain and take a few knocks.

    Contrast this to a your or so ago when I would have forked out a grand for whatever was going at the top of the line. Smart phones have taken over 95% of my navigational needs.

  2. Zalgariath

    The Garmin-Asus A50 was (is) a great device. It is beginning to suffer from age as an Android Platform as development stopped almost the day it was released, but it is still my primary device 2 years on. I am beginning to worry as when it goes I am at a loss to know what to replace with. There is simply NOTHING in the market which comes close. I wish Garmin could learn to play well with others! It may never have been able to compete with the popularity of the iPhone… but continued dev with Asus on the A50 could have put them in a position to release a rugged phone/proper GPS hybrid that would be in a league of its own and help carry the dedicated GPS user market into the next techno-phase. …

  3. John Gordon

    I’m not suprised Garmin has missed the boat. Just bought my first dedicated GPS, a Garmin etrex 20 and until I bought a map from Garmin I didn’t have anything bad to say about them but their business practices leave a lot to be desired. I buy a map for my device…no not buy….Lease the right to use a map for one year on one device. WTH!?!?! This model makes zero sense and makes your customers hate you. After buying it I fought with it,f their support people and their software for about three days to get it to work at all. And the detail on the birdseye topo is AWFUL.

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