A rough estimate of one million remote starters sell annually to consumers, according to Audiovox Electronics.
Another supplier pegs the number at 1.2 million for all of North America.
As for this year, the remote start selling season took off slowly due to warm weather stretching into early January. But the recent cold snap in the Northeast may make up for the shortfall, said Audiovox Electronics President Tom Malone.
“We’ll know more by the first couple of weeks of March, but sales now are very strong and doing well,” he said.
ADS, which makes data modules for remote starters said its seeing about 15 percent more installs this year of its products, (measured when an installer “flashes” the data module).
Also sales of remote start-from-a-phone systems continue to gain.
ABT Electronics, near Chicago said sales of such products like the SmartStart are now 20 percent of its remote start sales.
Sound Warehouse of Salt Lake City, UT said SmartStart style remote start are up to about 5 to 10 percent of sales
However, the monthly subscription fee of about $3 to $4 per month for such products, remains a stumbling block for many consumers, said retailers, some of whom report a penetration of under 5 percent for the niche.
Directed did not divulge the share of its sales for SmartStart but said it seeing a spike in sales of the Bluetooth version of its Viper SmartStart. This product uses Bluetooth instead of a cellular connection so there are no subscription fees. However, the product has a much shorter remote start range of only about 150 feet. (The cellular version can remote start your car from half way around the world, or virtually anywhere there is cellular service).
A Directed spokesman said, “We’ve seen a drastic increase with people using the Viper SmartStart Bluetooth product to connect to their cars via Bluetooth connection…–Stores have reported that this is a new product seeing a lot of sales this season (it was new last May).”
Directed also said a YouTube video showing Siri integration with its SmartStart received over 75,000 views in the past few months and that SmartStart continues to see “great growth.”