We are defying the consumer electronics number crunchers in stating that aftermarket backup camera sales were up last year and should continue to climb through 2020.
This is in contrast to the findings of the Consumer Technology Association (formerly Consumer Electronics Association), which said sales of backup cameras fell by 35 percent last year and will see minor sales dips over the next few years (in wholesale dollars).
We base our estimates on the fact that Crutchfield, Car Toys, Al & Ed’s, Audio Express, Tint World and Sound of Tri-State all said backup camera sales increased last year.
Consumer awareness is still rising and the car companies have not yet fully included backup cameras as standard equipment.
Backup cameras are included from the factory in about 50 to 60 percent of new car models, say industry members. But only 11 percent of the 312 million cars on the road have a rear obstacle sensor or camera, said Steve Witt, President of American Road Products.
49-store chain Car Toys, WA says the average age of the cars it works on are the 2009 model year, “so we should enjoy many more years of good back up camera business,” said VP Merchandising & Marketing Jim Warren.
36-store Audio Express, AZ, has seen about a 15 to 20 percent increase in backup camera sales. President John Link believes sales will continue to gain through 2020, about two years after the backup camera law goes into effect that mandates that all new cars sold in the US include backup cameras as of June 2018.
“…what we’re seeing is once a consumer sees one in action or actually uses one in a rental etc. they then want to have it in their own vehicle. We continue to see this more and more every day,” Link said.
Additionally, top 12 volt buyers say side and front camera sales are rising and will become a healthy sales category.
Link said, “I see front and side cameras really taking off! The 360 cameras will most likely have their own niche, especially with motorcycles, off road vehicles and even marine applications.”
Cars will be loaded with a myriad of cameras in the future, which presents opportunities for the aftermarket, said another buyer.
VOXX says its backup camera sales were up by 15 percent over last year and it expects another 15 percent growth this year. Another top camera supplier said its sales were flat.
NAV-TV camera interfaces are up close to 20 percent January 2015 to March compared to a year ago. And multifunction camera modules for front and side views as well as rear views, are up 500 percent.
“Backup cameras are incredibly strong, even stronger than last year….Awareness is at an all-time high…people are keeping their cars for an average of about 10 years, they are seeing the technology and the price is reduced to the point it’s a viable option,” said NAV-TV VP OEM and Business Developmen Derek Schmiedl.
Here’s another plus for the market. The Fed has allotted money for advertising, as part of its mandate for car companies to include backup cameras in new cars by June 2018. Both the US government and the car companies have agreed to promote backup cameras in the form of public service announcements and car ads that start in the spring of 2017, said Witt.
He said, “The law is the best thing to happen to us because none of us have a lot of money to spend on advertising, which is what creates awareness. So you guys should start a campaign at the store that we have backup cameras. You can be ahead of the law,” said Witt.