GPS Industry Trends 2021 (Market Growth & Forecasts)

Cityscape with location pins and graphs as overlays.

The GPS tracking devices market is booming. And it’s projected to more than double within the decade. 

Simply put, advancements in the underlying technology have made GPS tracking devices more convenient and affordable than ever. Innovation in the space has produced several benefits for commercial and personal users. Investment in GPS tracking can actually result in cost savings for business owners and generate a positive return on investment in many industries—especially transportation and logistics. And this financial incentive is driving further adoption of GPS tracking. 

This article will give you a quick GPS tracker market analysis. We’ll focus on market size, forecasts, growth factors, trends, and key obstacles. 

What is GPS tracking and how does it work?

GPS trackers are everywhere. Hiding in plain sight. GPS tracking devices are so widespread that you probably don’t even notice 90% of them in your day-to-day life. They’re in phones, cars, watches, and even dog accessories.

In order to function, GPS tracking requires two things: a network of orbiting satellites and a GPS device. GPS satellites broadcast one-way navigational signals to earth. These satellite signals contain accurate timestamps from an atomic clock that’s onboard each satellite. These signals are received by GPS tracker devices and the timestamps compute the device’s distance from the satellites. Allowing the system to determine the device’s precise location with astounding accuracy.

There are 24 GPS satellites orbiting the planet at all times. But a GPS device will generally only be within range of six to eight at a time. The GPS device needs at least four satellites to provide enough data for accurate triangulation.

GPS tracking devices were initially used by the military, but are now used for all sorts of things. GPS tracking devices are used for tracking people, animals, vehicles, and objects. Businesses commonly track expensive equipment and vehicles. While everyday folks use GPS tracking to monitor running or biking mileage. Almost every modern cell phone comes with GPS tracking built in.

On the commercial side, companies with a few vehicles or more are implementing fleet tracking faster than ever. 64% of businesses with multiple vehicles are currently using fleet tracking software. In some states, like California, new laws require vehicles delivering products like cannabis to have GPS devices enabled in their vehicles. This number is up 8% since last year. 

Why? Because 45% of fleet managers and small mobile business owners are achieving positive ROI within one year of switching to GPS fleet management.

Trends in the GPS tracker industry

There are two key growth factors propelling the global GPS tracker market:

  1. Growing demand for smart devices; and
  2. Adoption of commercial fleet management.

Commercial fleet management

The transportation and logistics industry is fueling the growth of the GPS tracker market because of the increasing demand for fleet management tracking. Companies of all sizes are opting for greater oversight of their assets, and taking advantage of cost efficiencies presented by fleet tracking. Fleet management devices with GPS capabilities improve driver behavior, fleet productivity, security, safety, and asset tracking.

GPS tracking devices are a crucial part of fleet management systems. These devices are fitted into trucks, cargo vans, drones, and other commercial vehicles. Once installed, these devices provide real-time data that enable managers to make informed decisions. Not only do they keep tabs on location, but they provide information relating to engine diagnostics, fuel consumption, and various parameters for temperature-controlled logistics. 

GPS tracking systems are used by many different business types. These devices facilitate fleet management for service-based businesses, cab companies, rental vehicles, courier services, ride-sharing, and many more. These trackers are also implemented by logistics companies in order to track the movement of precious cargo throughout the entire supply chain. This real-time data reduces the risk of theft and loss while improving operational efficiency. 

While there are many benefits to fleet management technology, there are legal/privacy concerns that you will want to be aware of. Read more on the legality of GPS fleet management.

Growing demand for smart devices

Nowadays, it seems like everything is hooked up to the internet. And every second object is considered ‘smart.’

The declining price point and size of GPS tracking devices made it possible to outfit even the most mundane household objects with GPS tracking systems. 

GPS trackers and internet connectivity are frequently embedded in everyday items so you can connect to them over the cloud. This allows the device to measure and monitor information and provide an accurate location almost at all times. That enables you to collect geospatial data for all sorts of purposes like preventing theft, logging running mileage, and finding your way around a big city. You can find GPS tracking devices in:

  • Phones
  • Bikes
  • Vehicles 
  • Watches
  • Glasses 
  • Accessories 
  • Dog collars
  • Animal microchips
  • Eyewear
  • Clothing

Current market size and outlook

Last year the global GPS tracking device market was valued at $1.78billion. By 2028, it is predicted that this valuation will increase to $4.93 billion. Representing a CAGR of 12.3%.

Approximately 38% of that growth is expected to come from North America.

Despite consistent growth in recent years, the global market for GPS tracking experienced a slight downturn during 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the industry is recovering as lockdown restrictions loosen in countries crucial to manufacturing and consumer confidence returns to global markets.

COVID-19 impact overview

Few, if any, industries weren’t impacted by the global pandemic. And the GPS tracker market was no exception. 

Businesses and consumers tightened up spending due to the global economic uncertainty causing an unanticipated change in demand for GPS tracker devices. The industry was also impacted by challenges and complexities of supply chains and the global freight logistics crisis in 2020.

Despite the bottlenecked supply chain and ongoing uncertainty with COVID-19, demand for GPS tracking devices is high and continues to grow.

Market segment overview

The GPS tracking device market is categorized in a couple of different ways. It can be segmented based on type, region, and industry.

By TypeBy RegionIndustry
Advanced tracker
Standalone tracker
On board devices
North America
South America
Middle East & Africa
Transportation and logistics
Government and defense

By type, it is predicted that advanced trackers will retain the most substantial market share in North America because of declining prices and the growing popularity of commercial fleet management.

Standalone trackers are straightforward navigation systems that allow the user to find their way around. 

On board devices get GPS location information as well as vehicle information.

Advanced trackers—like the ones used by Force—are the most popular option because they are multi-functional and more comprehensive. These devices can provide navigational information in addition to monitoring engine diagnostics and vehicle performance. 

In addition to location tracking, advanced tracking devices can monitor engine diagnostics and vehicle performance. These multi-functional tracking devices give fleet managers a better overview of their fleet’s movement, productivity, and health.

Advanced trackers are proving to be the most popular type because stand alone tracking devices can only track and monitor location, and on board devices provide less comprehensive engine diagnostics. Advanced trackers are leapfrogging the other two types because they can collect better data and they’re becoming increasingly affordable

Not only that, advanced trackers offer additional features like live link sharing for customers,  offering a real-time view of their driver or technician’s whereabouts. This allows businesses to enhance their customer’s experience, offering more accurate times for service calls and reducing irate phone calls wondering where drivers are, leading to more satisfied customers, better reviews, and higher ratings.

By industry, it is estimated that transportation and logistics will continue to be the largest and one of the fastest-growing industry segments. Again, this is primarily because of the increasing popularity of GPS fleet management. This technology is in high demand because it’s giving businesses big and small a competitive advantage by lowering costs, saving time, and keeping fleets productive.
North America is the largest regional market in the global GPS tracking device market. Canada and the United States house many of the industry key players such as Laipac Technology Inc., Sierra Wireless, Spy Tec International, T-Mobile, Calamp Corp., and Orbcomm Inc. And the demand for smart devices with GPS and fleet management technology is most prevalent in these countries.

Concluding thoughts: the GPS tracker market

Despite the challenges posed by environmental factors and the pandemic, the global GPS market is poised for growth. 

Advancements in technology have enabled producers to manufacture smaller, more affordable tracking devices. As a result, we’re seeing growing consumer demand for GPS tracking systems in everyday objects. And exploding demand from the transportation and logistics industry as mobile businesses gain a competitive advantage with fleet tracking technology.

Learn more about Force’s GPS fleet tracking technology and find out what makes our GPS tracking devices ideal for your fleet tracking needs.

Published October 13, 2021
Matt Davis
Matt Davis
Director of Marketing
Force by Mojio