Automotive window film sales were up 30 percent last year for the industry in general, and have been steadily climbing over the last several years.
The growth has enticed an increasing number of car audio dealers into the segment, as they look for ways to expand beyond core car audio.
Sales of window film are expected to continue to climb this year, including through car audio specialists.
Solar Gard said it has added about 100 car stereo dealers to its distribution over the last two to three years, excluding dealers resulting from its new partnership with the Mobile Electronics Specialists of America (MESA) buying group. Eastern Regional Sales Manager Rob Garlo said the company is also now marketing more aggressively to 12 volt stores through its territory managers and in some cases, distributors.
3M estimates about 40 to 50 percent of its dealers are car stereo shops and said it has also been adding car audio dealers to its base in the last few years.
Tint World’s success is also enticing some car audio retailers to expand into window film. For example, Freeman’s Stereo Video, Charlotte, NC said Tint World had entered its market and so the chain is taking a cue from Tint World’s playbook. The window tint chain attracts customers with tint and auto detailing and then cross sells its customers car audio (now the number 2 category at Tint World). So Freeman’s aims to cross sell tint and car audio as well. Freeman’s added Llumar film to 3 of its 7 stores and plans to extend it to all of its stores by the end of the year.
Freeman’s hired an installer for each of the three locations late last year, plus a manager to oversee the division, and tinting is already paying for itself (and the key selling season hasn’t started yet).
Freeman’s J.R. Stocks said, “Anybody in the 12 volt business who isn’t doing it needs to for the traffic it will build, the attachments to the sales, and the sheer profitability.”
Mickey Shorr, Pontiac, MI says the 16-store chain dabbles in window tint and is looking into expanding. “The car audio business isn’t growing so we’re looking for alternative business. It’s profitable and we believe it’s a growth category,“ said General Manager Jeff Pitts.
Jo-Di’s Sound Centers, West Hartford, CT says the chain entered in the segment during the last two years. “It’s becoming more popular. It’s another service that people can come to your for….It definitely brings in more business,” said Jodi DiFazio. The chain of five stores has one installer that travels between locations.
Photo: 3M Window film