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Analysis says GPS sales worth tracking

By Dave McMahon

ADP Lightspeed study shows GPS unit sales increased by nearly 30 percent in 2011

A study by ADP Lightspeed analysts Hal Ethington and Eric Johnson shows that GPS unit sales by dealerships have shown dramatic increases over the past decade.

The analysis of 13,000 GPS unit sales over nine years shows the average motorcycle dealer who sells GPS units sells seven units per year. Their research also found that most GPS units are priced $600-$750, touring is the primary use of buyers and 75 percent of all GPS units sold are purchased by Harley-Davidson or BMW owners.

Sales of GPS units have become a substantial part of the V-twin market, as ADP Lightspeed data shows GPS units falling into the top-selling part numbers in 2011. Harley-Davidson owners purchase about half of all motorcycle GPS systems.

Sales of GPS units through metric dealerships go well beyond touring bikes, reaching out to dual-purpose, sport and other off-road classes of vehicles. However, GPS products do not appear in studies of top-selling metric part numbers.

GPS sales from 2003-11 were gathered from 1,253 dealers. The results, which included both theft tracking and navigational devices, are presented in the charts that accompany this article.

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Here’s how Ethington and Johnson break down the charts.

Chart A
Looking only at 2011 sales, it’s easy to see that there are two major suppliers. Harley-Davidson sells just under half of all units sold, and BMW sells about 24 percent.

The second tier of suppliers is held by BRP at 5 percent, and LoJack and Ducati each with 3 percent of the market.

The third tier of suppliers includes both Garmin and Enfotrace at 2 percent of the market each. Polaris and Contour would be included in this third tier with 1 percnt each. The balance, 11 percent of the market, is held by a variety of other suppliers.

Charts B and C
By looking at Sales Deals and Service Repair Orders, Ethington and Johnson matched GPS sales to the type of motorcycle receiving the unit.

Chart B, for metric dealers, shows that touring bikes account for 68 percent of GPS sales. dual and sport pick up 12 percent and 11 percent each, while cruisers account for about 5 percent of sales. “standard” motorcycles — street bikes other than touring, dual, or sport — account for 2 percent of motorcycles receiving a GPS unit.

Among off-road vehicles, UTVs receive 2 percent of all GPS units sold with units. ATV and Enduro units receive less than 0.5 percent of GPS units sold.

Among GPS units sold by V-twin dealers (Chart C), touring bikes receive 84 percent of GPS units. The remaining 16 percent go to cruisers.

Chart D and F

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Sales of GPS units have steadily increased over the past nine years. This chart tracks GPS unit sales for metric and V-twin combined. It shows a count of the number of dealers selling, and the number of GPS units sold per dealer selling (in red).

In 2003, 11 dealers sold 22 GPS units (recall that this number may include theft tracking devices as well as navigational). That was two each for the year. The rate of increase from that point forward was 100 to 500 percent per year for the first three years, with the following three years (2007, 2008, and 2009) each showing about a 50 percent increase over the previous year.

Last year (2010) saw a slight dip of 2 percentage points below 2009, but 2011 rebounded with a 28 percent increase in GPS units sold.

Chart F breaks out metric from V-twin for 2011 and shows:

The difference is dramatic. Ninety percent of V-twin dealers sell GPS, compared to only 30 percent of metric dealers. Additionally, in a recent ADP Lightspeed survey of top 30,000 selling part numbers (ranked by gross dollar sales), it was discovered that for V-twin dealers, two GPS products were ranked seventh and eighth, respectively, with just under $1 million in gross dollar sales. The total of all GPS part numbers for V-twin dealers was $2 million.

For metric dealers, GPS products fell further down the list, but were still important producers of sales revenue. In the top selling 50,000 part numbers, GPS products totaled $464,000 .

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Chart E
The range of retail pricing for GPS products seems to vary between $600 and $1,000.  Eighty-two percent of all units sold fell within this range, with the greatest concentration between $650 and $750. High-end GPS products sold for up to $2,500 in this study.

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