Mobile GPS Awareness by generation
Mobile GPS Awareness by generation

GPS awareness and usage on smartphones is still relatively low among Canadians, particularly among Boomers and the 65+ crowd. Even some 38% of NGen don’t know or aren’t sure whether their smartphones are GPS-equipped. Given these stats, it isn’t surprising that few Canadians use their mobile GPS on a weekly basis.

Why this lack of awareness and relatively low usage rates of GPS across all generations?

One reason could be a lack of association of GPS with a mobile device. Most customers were first introduced to GPS in their cars with the wide-spread inclusion of in-car GPS systems in the 1990’s. When consumers think GPS, they automatically think of in-car systems – not their mobile devices.

Also, in-car systems are more user-friendly and are generally safer to handle while in transit. They offer real-time voice navigation with onscreen turn-by- turn directions. Mobile GPS in comparison, is only beginning to offer these features now in Beta or to business subscribers.

Canadian consumers also think that setting up GPS on their mobile phones is complex and time-consuming, stating “it’s too small and I haven’t had time to investigate how to set it up” or “I don’t know how it works.” As with any other feature, customers want ease of use. They don’t want to have to learn how to set it up or how to use it – they just want something intuitive.

I don't need it, nor do I want to pay for it - NGenAnother implied factor which could affect the relatively low usage is consumer habits. Respondents indicated that they didn’t need mobile GPS as they determined a route for their destinations in advance. In the case of an impromptu need for directions, many Canadians fell back onto existing behaviours such as calling their destination directly, looking it up online before leaving home, or even using paper-based maps.

Some habits and perceptions just take time to break. However, marketers and product developers take note, this will create opportunities for you to better educate and engage with consumers of GPS mobile.

To gain more insights into how, download the complete Delvinia Dig quarterly report on mobile at

Do you know if your smartphone is GPS enabled? If so, do you even use it? Tell us.