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GPS and Internet of Things Enable New Tracking Apps

The emerging new applications of the global positioning system (GPS) and the internet of things (IoT) are only limited by a savvy vendor's imagination. Exploring the full potential of these enabling technologies is resulting in significant new upside revenue opportunities.

According to the latest market study by Berg Insight, the market for consumer GPS pet trackers and services in Europe and North America is forecast to grow from € 60 million in 2017 to reach about € 340 million in 2022.

GPS Tracking Market Development

The European market is slightly larger than the North American market. At the end of 2017, there were around 270,000 active pet tracking devices in Europe and 240,000 devices in North America.

The number of active pet trackers is estimated to grow at a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 48 percent in Europe and 52 percent in North America, to reach around 1.9 million active units in each region at the end of the forecast period.

Annual shipments of pet trackers are estimated to grow from 180,000 units to 730,000 units in Europe and from 150,000 units to 820,000 units in North America between 2017–2022.

Pet locator devices address two major concerns for pet owners – preventing the pet from getting lost and helping the pet stay healthy. A recurring problem for pet owners is that pets sometimes run away.

By using a pet tracking device based on GPS and cellular mobile network technology, combined with a web application or smartphone software app, the pet can be located and brought back to the owner's home.

Several pet trackers now also include sensors for activity monitoring to provide health data and information on the pet’s wellbeing. The information can also be used to create an individual diet and nutrition plan.

The two leading vendors on the pet tracking market today are Tractive and Whistle Labs. Whistle Labs is only active in North America, while Tractive is mainly active in Europe. Whistle Labs was acquired by the major pet food manufacturer Mars Petcare in 2016.

Tractive has grown significantly in recent years and is now the largest vendor of pet trackers worldwide. Additional vendors of dedicated GPS pet tracking devices on the European and North American markets include CareWhere, Kippy, Pawtrack, Nuzzle, Pod Trackers, Suchmich and Wagz.

Outlook for GPS Tracker Application Growth

The potential market for pet trackers in Europe and North America is significant. There are close to 350 million cats and dogs in the two regions. North America is the largest region, where 66 percent of the households own at least one pet.

"A new generation of first-time pet owners is emerging that are more inclined to use technology and social media to share moments with their pets," said Martin B├Ąckman, IoT analyst at Berg Insight.

The pet tracking market is likely to show healthy growth in the next coming years thanks to better market visibility and on-going product development that drives down cost and size, as well as improves battery life.

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