Sales of dash cams or digital video recorders (DVRs) that record as you drive are slowly gaining with retailers. Many now predict that high end dash cams will become a true 12 volt category.
VOXX, NAV-TV (distributor of BlackVue), Compustar ( Momento), and Allucam all say sales are picking up. Al & Ed’s Autosound, CA says DVR sales have doubled since last year.
A number of factors are expected to help grow the market. One is Kenwood’s entry into dash cam/driver safety products, particularly with the new DRV-N520, just now shipping, which can link to a Kenwood deck (DMX7704S) to display dash cam video on your radio screen. These products will essentially educate floor salesman on the DVR category. As salesmen start pushing the ability of the DMX7704S to display dash cam video, it will raise awareness of dash cams on the sales floor, said industry members.
Others say that as more dash cams are in the field, more of their video footage is going viral, raising awareness of the product among consumers.
When dash cam footage of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver went viral in late February, sales of BlackVue dash cams soared, said NAV-TV VP Derek Schmiedl (see photo above).
“The BlackVue is being called the Uber camera because the driver recorded it on a high end BlackVue model 650S-2CH IR. “Because of that incident we’re getting inquiries on that camera. Before that, it was unpopular; it’s over $450. But in the last 60 days, demand has gone through the roof. We’ve been in and out of backorder,” said Schmiedl
VOXX’s Aron Demers claimed, “As consumers get more used to seeing footage out there, and seeing the advantages that the product can deliver, we’re seeing a pickup.” He said the market is “definitely getting more interest in higher end DVRs,” and generally speaking, sales are strong at the low and high ends while the middle is soft.
CompuStar, which recently entered the market said the category is stronger than it expected, and 12 volt specialists can do well in the segment because dash cams that are wired to the battery can operate even while the car is parked and the ignition is off to record damage. Most consumers, don’t want to take on the DIY project of running wires to the car battery so they’ll seek professional installation.
Allucam, a maker of high end dash cams said sales are up about 150 percent over a year ago. Sales & Marketing Director Scott Ju said YouTube footage from the cameras is helping raise awareness.
ABT, IL said a lot more of its customers are asking for DVRs. The Specialists, AX said sales are up by about 20 percent.
Freeman’s Car Stereo, NC, General Manager David Wall said sales are only slightly up. But he added, “I definitely think it will continue to grow as a category and we definitely will make sure we are in it.”
Al & Ed’s Purchasing Manager John Haynes said, “We’re doing a fairly decent business with Lyft and Uber drivers.”
Many believe that insurance companies will offer widespread discounts on premiums for owning and using a dash cam at some point in the future. While there are isolated cases of insurance discounts on dash cams now, they are few and consumers aren’t generally aware of them. Once it becomes a well known insurance break, DVRs should see a surge in sales, said Schmiedl.
As for Kenwood, the DRV-N520 is just now shipping,
replacing joining the Driver Recorder (DRV-410). Kenwood’s Tony Mercado said, “It is fair to say that we are pleased with the adoption rate of [the DRV-410 at] our specialty retailers and that sales are on track with sales forecasts. We expect wider adoption amongst our retail network with the DRV-N520.”