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Home >> Computing >> Pnd >> Pnd Sales Beat Expectations Black Friday Tags Seen 99 >> PND Sales Beat Expectations; Black Friday Tags Seen At $99
Despite the July heat, GPS retailers are already preparing for Christmas and planning Black Friday promotions that could see personal navigation device (PND) prices hit a new low of $99, even with demand exceeding suppliers' expectations.
"I hope not, but I know that some of the major retailers are asking about that price point," said Kiyoshi Hamai, Mio's sales and marketing director.
"My gut feeling is you are going to see $99 and many suppliers at $119 to $149,"concurred Ralph Etna, Audiovox consumer goods group VP. Other suppliers such as Navigon and Navico (formerly Lowrance) also believe select products could hit $99.
The specials are expected to be temporary, however, because at $99, the supplier would likely lose money, said Hamai. At $119 to $149, suppliers are breaking even on product, he added. Any $99 specials would also likely be limited to stripped-down PNDs, suppliers said.
Crutchfield's Tom Bancroft, marine, GPS and accessories merchandise director, said he is hearing of closeouts at $99 but said his company "stays away from some of the lesser-quality products" because the store offers a generous return policy. Crutchfield is currently planning for Black Friday but will not order GPS inventory until September or October, said Bancroft.
For Crutchfield, "bottom line" features for PNDs include a complete map set, a rolling map display, "a reasonable chipset" and voice cues for turns (although announcing street names is not a requirement).
Etna cautioned that consumers who consider $99 units "should be wary about the content of the unit, relating to the GPS processor, CPU speed and the extent of the mapping offered. They should read the product specifications and features very carefully."
Overall PND industry sales are tracking ahead of market predictions that had called for a doubling in 2007 North American sales to consumers from 2006's sales of approximately 2.7 million units. Based on stronger than expected recent sales, Navigon expects sales to North American sell-through to hit 6.5 million units, and Hamai noted, "I've heard numbers like eight and as high as 10 [million units]."
Said Navigon marketing VP Ralf Hug, "Since January and February, everything has been above our expectations." He said his 2007 prediction of 6.5 million units is "based on seasonality and shipments year-to-date and the prices we're seeing."
With so many brands now vying for shelf space, the market is expected to see a shakeout following the Christmas selling blitz, some suppliers said. Hamai said he expects that if the top three or four players "don't make any silly mistakes, they will come out okay." He added that rumors are circulating that Samsung is planning a market entry but said he has not been able to confirm that.
Audiovox will introduce three new PNDs this September, including a basic unit at a suggested $179. The NVX-200 has a 3.5-inch screen, voice prompts and preloaded maps of North America. A step-up NVX-235W adds maps of Western Europe at $299, and a third model, the NVX-430BT, steps up to a 4.3-inch screen with Bluetooth, text-to-speech (to announce street names of upcoming turns) and preloaded maps of North America at a suggested $399.