I Love My GPS

No need to stop for directions at the next gas station–or the one after that. Handheld navigators are headed for Main Street.

Nearly 30% of American households either have a Global Positioning System device or plan to buy one this year, according to an exclusiveMarketing Daily survey prepared by Synovate.

Similar to other new technologies, early adopters tend to be higher-income. One out of five, or nearly 20% of respondents with incomes of $75,000 or more, said they have a GPS device. About 10% of people earning $25,000 to $75,000 own a GPS, and 3% of people earning under $25,000 have one.

The Marketing Daily/Synovate survey found that nearly half of GPS owners consider safety to be the product’s most important attribute. Other interesting nuggets:

  • Nearly 40% of owners said they get less frustrated because of their GPS
  • 39% have tossed aside navigational aids such as MapQuest and Yahoo Maps
  • 32% said they use printed maps, AAA and compasses less often
  • 27% said they no longer have to ask for directions
  • 15% of owners said their GPS has changed their life.GPS owners are somewhat receptive to receiving marketing information on their GPS systems–but only if they ask for it.

    Among respondents who own a GPS system, 44% said they are interested in having the device guide them to area restaurants and attractions. But 75% said they “would hate it” if their navigator started receiving unsolicited advertising.

    “The GPS is an emerging form of advertising, like wireless and video games. But the companies have to carefully balance revenue potential with infringing on core functionality,” said Ross Rubin, an NPD analyst.

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