While there is no first hand data available for India, there are survey results by AA (Automobile Association) members for US. The behavioral aspects of the consumers in that region, certainly reveal interesting facts when correlated with the habits of consumers and the geographical challenges in India.
The survey conducted with 7,380 drivers in November 2008 revealed:
1. Approx. 75% of respondent who have Sat Nav still carry a road atlas.
Isn’t it worth noting? This clearly outlines the fact that majority of the drivers fear that there is a possibility to get mislead by the Sat Nav (Personal Navigation Device or PND).
This is even important to note because the navigation and exit signs on road are very well marked in US and the addressing system is extremely systematic compared to the Indian scenario, where even most local residents may look confused in guiding you to your destination location, forget about the navigation device. We all know for one how badly does India suffer with the navigation planning where road names are not marked on the roads at all and the notion of exit signs doesn’t exist accept at a few places.
In essence, the promise of Sat Nav or the manufacturers to take you to your destination without getting lost is an absolute fallacy. In fact PND users have themselves communicated that these devices actually force you to go in a particular direction. They feel that it creates utter confusion and adds to the indecisiveness on-the-move and leads to higher chances of getting lost on the road.
2. 30% of respondents confirmed that their Sat Nav has misguided them, 4% strongly agree that they are worried about getting misguided while 47% disagree that they are worried.
More than the majority i.e. 53% confirms to the explanation above i.e. about being misguided by the PNDs in real-time and it wouldn’t be a surprise if this percentage is more than 90% in the Indian scenario. In fact, it would be a surprise to see the actual percentage of people who are being guided greatly by these devices.
3. 22% of respondents agree that their Sat Nav device sometimes distracts them when they are driving. 33% seemed confused about it.
Breaking of traffic rules, poor driving habits and lack of patience among drivers are not new things to any one who has driven on Indian roads.
Add to this the visual noise across cities due to unregulated/ corrupt adverting policies, the banners and hoarding are one of the major sources of distraction to these drivers.
Not to discount the fact of increasing mobile usage while driving among the drivers again.
Hence driving in India demands utmost focus, it is now very important to understand if there is really any room for additional distraction due to Sat Nav devices for the Indian drivers?
For the reasons above, I think the cost of device is not only in terms of hardware/software but also the cost of updating the maps/ data and the additional helplessness that they contribute to the driver on-the-move.
However, there are other interesting insights about Sat Nav(s) that you might want to have a look at:
44% of the respondents use it very frequently. 54% belive it to tbe the best device for their car, 49% are worried that it might get stolen – Sheer love with their device, isn’t it?
18-24 age group is most likely to have Sat Nav (43%), while 25-34 age group is least likely to have Sat Nav (38%)
Men are more likely to own a Sat Nav (47%) than woman (30%).
And that the SatNav device is the most wanted gift item in the west.
While I do not own a Sat Nav, after hearing the bad stories from the users, I do not even want to have one. It will however be interesting if someone has some good stories after using it in India.