The Strange Emerging DVR Market

share on:
dashcams car DVR

Dash cam or car DVR sales are on the rise but they are creating a different kind of sale for retailers.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)  just began tracking dash cams and says they will grow by 9 percent this year.

But many retailers are finding a different success with dash cams–through pure installation sales.

More than a half dozen specialists said customers are walking into their shop with DVRs purchased online and asking for a professional install.  Many see few sales except for these installation requests. Some shops are charging $99 to $125 for a front DVR only installation.

The hope is that these customers will turn into repeat customers seeking advice on higher quality DVRs that they purchase from the dealer.

First, many of the lower cost DVRs ($69-$89 and under) are not true automotive grade and they fail to work in the hot environment of a car in summer.  And when it comes to playing back your video feed on a computer, many cheap DVRs require confusing software downloads.

“There’s no doubt in my mind if we look at the road map in 2 or 3 years, DVRs for the retailers should and will become a good revenue source,” says Steve Witt of American Road Products, which sells backup sensors, cameras and safety systems.

But he adds, “You can’t out Amazon Amazon. Dealers should be pushing the better quality product.”  He believes once the consumer is burned by a low cost DVR that failed to record because of high heat he will seek out a 12 volt specialist for models that can withstand up to 180 degrees in summer, and that come with software compatible to US computers.

The category is also starting to merge into multi-DVR and multi camera systems that protect the entire car and perform functions including over head parking and blind spot monitoring.

The CTA forecasts dash cam sales will rise by 9 percent in units (wholesale) this year and 7 percent in dollars.  Shipments should reach $49 million.  2017 should see a repeat of growth at 9 and 7 percent (units and dollars) to $52 million.  And when combined with backup cameras, the segment could hit $90 million in 2017, said the CTA.  That puts it within reach of OEM integration wholesale shipments ($114 million).

Retailers may also see more fleet business for DVRs.

Retailers and suppliers said that insurance companies are offering informal incentives to fleets that adopt DVRs.

Fleet managers are told if they install DVRs, especially connected DVRs, that they can avoid a rate hike, said Witt. Eventually, they will offer more formal discounts, he believes.

Dan Jeancola Sound Advice, FL suggests suppliers put a DVR  output on all of their radios with screens. “The hot thing right now is these multiple camera devices where you can put 4 or 5, 6 cameras and they are tied to blinkers. Why not add DVR capability and tie it into the radio?  You could watch the video from the car if you wanted to rewind.”


share on:


  1. We have stopped installing cheap Amazon products. Failure rate is just too high and even though we aren’t providing the product, the client still associates the experience with us. Guess I should just say Amazon even though that is the big one. Any cheap internet products.

  2. Joe and RD,

    Great stuff each. If as a business channel we explore your observations and practice accordingly I contend we will have provided a small measure of persuasion to the suppliers to look at us first. I do not contend it will be easy BUT I do contend it is necessary.

  3. My store loves any chance to earn a new customers business. The only problem with installing any equipment purchased online… Is that it comes with a double edged sword and almost never benefits the business in the long run. If the customer buys a quality product and we do a fantastic job of installing it… Then it only furthers a customers belief: They can save money by purchasing the product online and only using my store for it’s installation service. Even if we have given that person the “Red Carpet” treatment. We go above and beyond to impress someone with our knowledge and customer service. But, It seems this type of customer just doesn’t care about anything except saving the almighty dollar bill. Cash is king! And the lowest price is almost all that matters to many customers who purchase gear online.

    On the flip side… If the person buys a less then quality product and has my store install it… when that product breaks (And it will) then my shop is accused of doing a poor install. Because there is no possible way that Mr. Customers $99 Touch screen would only last a week!

    I feel like this up and coming DVR market is just more of the same.

    It won’t stop me from trying to make these people quality customers. It just doesn’t have great odds. The struggle is real.

  4. Ray, to be relevant I believe the specialist needs to make an effort to promote and sell this relatively new category. I think this could be done successfully if retailers make the choice to offer quality/branded products with value added features, and then present them in a professional manor (develop a marketing and merchandising plan, an attachment process, and create a sales presentation for the category). They might consider reaching out to their insurance agents and investigate the claim of any local discounts if and when a drive camera is installed, and if there are any limitations to obtaining these discounts. Use this information to develop their sales strategy.

    Ultimately dealers need to avoid the practice of placing the lowest cost models they can find in a glass case and waiting for the consumer to discover them while waiting for other services to be performed. This type of product offering is already being done by Amazon, but at a lower price.

  5. The questions this issue creates for me is, How does the brick & mortar installing specialty retailer make himself relevant to the consumer as a product source not just a service source? Then we have to ask and successfully answer this question… Why did the supplier community go to market with this exciting product through channels other than the brick & mortar installing specialty retailer? We might not like the answers BUT these answers will help us to move in the right direction.

    1. Ray you are right the factory really don’t care about the little shops anymore the want to
      Make the product drop it off one place
      And get paid there is no more loyalty
      For the little guy even know all of ilia made them with who they are today where just the dummy
      That fail for it today I ask my reps some time
      How can they sale below cost on the net
      He tells me I doint know sure they don’t know
      They buying much cheaper than we are that’s how the race to 0 is almost over

Comments are closed.