The GNSS downstream (both devices and services) market was valued at USD 162.9 billion in 2020, and it is expected to reach USD 353.17 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 14.6% during the period of 2021-2026. The precision and accuracy of these chips are largely dependent on the satellites in the visibility range. As a result, multiple countries are trying to deploy regional constellations for better navigation and mapping. However, as of the market scenario, only five countries (China, Russia, United States, India, and Japan), along with the European Union, have their own GNSS systems.
- The increasing volume of consumer electronics that are equipped with navigation and positioning features are expected to create a huge demand for low power GNSS chips. Similarly, at a global scale, these numbers are expected to be far high, especially from the Asia-Pacific region, which is one of the fastest growing markets for consumer electronics. Over the forecast period, such growth in demand for consumer electronics is expected to retain it as the largest consumer of GNSS chips.
- Moreover, the technology has been witnessing a significant investments for the development of chipsets. For instance, the European Commission allocated a total budget of EUR 101 million between 2015 and 2020. The budget is devoted by the European Union, to support the development of EGNSS-enabled chipsets, receivers, and antennas, to facilitate the adoption of EGNSS systems, improve the competitiveness of the EU industry, address user needs, and maximize benefits to the EU citizens.
- There is a significant increase in the number of wearable devices being sold, over the past few years. According to the Cisco Systems, growth in the connected wearable devices from 325 million devices in 2016 to 593 million devices in 2018, holds a great deal of promise, especially for the healthcare applications. This has contributed to the increased demand of GNSS chips.
- GNSS Galileo based Applications are useful in response to the diffusion of COVID-19. The applications cover a wide range of uses like queue management, response management and monitoring the pandemic. Hamagen, an app by Israel Ministry of Health, allows the identification of contacts between COVID-19 diagnosed patients and people who came in contact with them in the 14 days prior to the patient's diagnosis of the disease. The app retains information about user's locations and cross-references this information with the Ministry of Health's updated epidemiological data that is constantly updated and sent for cross-referencing purposes.
Key Market Trends
Smartphones to Drive the Market Growth
- Despite considerable saturation of mature markets, such as EU28, North American, and China, for smartphones, the shipments of smartphones still outnumber devices using GNSS chips.Smartphones have been using GNSS chips for a considerable time. In most of the cases, these chips support all publicly available satellite networks, such as GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, etc. However, when compared to dedicated navigation devices, these solutions were less accurate.
- For instance, the Lenovo Z6, launched in 2019, featured Allystar HD8040 series chipset, which is a multi-GNSS chip, that comes with is dual-frequency GNSS capable of tracking the latest BDS phase III signal.
- Moreover, the European Commission has approved a regulation mandating that new smartphones launched in the market will have to include satellite and Wi-fi location services. According to the regulation, chipsets, enabled with the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) capabilities, is likely to have access to the EU's satellite system Galileo, which provides an accurate positioning and timing information. Eight EU countries have been following this regulation and are using Galileo compatible chipsets.
- According to the European GNSS Agency, a total of 126 different Galileo-compatible smartphone models were available in the market at the beginning of 2019. These are estimated to represent a global installed base of 600 million units. With leading GNSS chipset providers producing Galileo-ready chipsets and over 25 global smartphone brands already integrating these chipsets in their latest smartphone models, this number is bound to grow over the forecast period, which may reflect the growth of the market.
North America Holds Significant Market Share
- North America is one of the largest markets for GNSS chips in the world. It is the second-largest market for smartphones and tablets, the second-largest market for in-vehicle navigation systems, and the largest manufacturer of aircrafts and one of the largest manufacturers of aerospace and maritime navigation products.
- Hence, the country has an immense demand from almost all the end users in the region. In case of the United States, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 approved a spending of USD 716 billion, of which USD 1.46 billion is dedicated to the country's GPS program.
- Additionally, there is considerably a high R&D activity in the region. The ongoing expansion of GPS III network, R&D activities to make GNSS chips more secure, etc., are expected to open new opportunities for the market studied in the region.
- Moreover, Swift Navigation, which is a San Francisco-based technological firm working on Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) positioning technology, primarily for autonomous vehicles, in September 2019, announced a partnership with Arm, a global player in semiconductor IP. In this strategic partnership, Arm is expected to offer Swift Navigation's high-accuracy and high-integrity GNSS positioning solutions as an option on Arm-based platforms, to developers of autonomous and connected vehicles.
The GNSS chip market consists of several players. In terms of market share, none of the players dominate the market. Major players include Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., Mediatek Inc., STMicroelectronics N.V., among others. The market players are considering startegic partnerships and collaborations to expand their market share. Some of the recent developments in the market are:
- September 2019 - Trimble and Qualcomm Technologies entered a strategic partnership, primarily to build a high-accuracy positioning system for connected vehicles. Both the 4G and 5G platform of Qualcomm Technologies will host Trimbles's RTX precise positioning software, which can provide real-time and multi constellation GNSS corrections. The combined solution will provide reliable, consistent, and high-accuracy positioning in a broadcast format.
- January 2019 - Allystar Technology Co. Ltd. launched a multi-band, multi-GNSS system on a chip, the HD8040 series, to help portable devices save size and weight. The HD8040 offered in wafer-level chip-scale packaging (WLCSP).
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