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.”