Since Alpine first introduced its Halo “floating” radios over three years ago, the category has been gaining steadily, but even more so in the past year.
The large-screened radios that “float” in front of the dashboard may carry $500 or more in price premiums above standard 7-inch radios from top brands, but consumers aren’t hesitating to pay the price premium, said Kenwood’s Seth Halstead.
AAMP’s HEIGH10 radio (plus accessories) has become the fastest growth category at AAMP, and that’s on a $1,099 radio. The company plans to offer more floating radios in the future, said AAMP’s Kevin Kuenzie.
One leading head unit maker said floating radios comprise about 25 percent of its display radio sales. A spokesman noted, “With OEM screen sizes increasing, it stands to reason consumers would want larger screens when buying replacement products.”
Kenwood said it’s impossible to tell what percentage of its sales are in the floating radios because everything is selling and all radios are in short supply. But a spokesman said, “Dealer and consumer response has been overwhelmingly positive and we view this as a strong category moving forward.”
“They have become a major category,” Walt Detlefsen of Linkswell said. He expects large screened radios to comprise 15 percent of the car radio market in the next year or two.
Additionally screen sizes keep inching upward. BOSS is moving up the chain from 9- and 10.1-inch models to 11- and 13-inch models due early next year. Alpine began shipping the 11-inch iLX-F411 this year.
Linkswell’s T-Style large screen radios go up to 13.3 inches and that size is carried by a leading car audio chain.
One tip for selling the larger screen radios at retail is to give them their own separate demo board.
Empress Audio & Marine, AL created a separate display for the radios and finds consumers head right for it. Said Empress CEO Floyd Seal, “I wanted to establish floaters as a category. You may not buy a big screen but you are going to go over there and look at them. I loaded up all the way from a $1600 Kenwood to a $299 Jensen.” He said he’s sold through all his top brand models.”Our business has exploded with the floaters.” It’s also helped his $599 radio sales because after looking at a $1600 radio, a $599 radio seems like a bargain, he added.
AAMP says the Jeep Wranglers are by far the most popular vehicle for its Heigh10 followed by full sized General Motors trucks.