In-Dash DVD/Monitor Sales Are Climbing

By Amy Gilroy On Jul 17 2006 - 6:00am

Sales of in-dash DVD are on the rise due to falling prices and a broadening selection, said industry members.

Although still a small niche compared with CD players, DVD/monitors are a welcome breath of fresh air in a market where CD player sales have declined by 30 percent.

According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), in-dash DVD/monitor shipments to retailers are up by 60 percent this year through May (single and double DIN), but on a relatively small base of 141,000 units. This compares with year-to-date sales of CD players of 3.2 million units.

Price tags on DVD/monitors, however, are a hefty $1,000 for top brand models (compared with low-end CD at under $150), helping to generate $87 million in sales, compared with CD players' $356 million. (see table 1).

A particular bright spot is the double-DIN DVD/monitor because more new cars are offering the wider double-DIN radio slots and because consumers like the clean fit. Victory Technologies, Stoneham, Mass., estimates that 37 percent of new cars will include double-DIN slots by 2008, up from 20 percent in 2005 (see table 2).

“We're seeing middle-of-the-road cars, not complicated, like the Kia. The double DIN fits right in, and customers love them,” said Steve Laplante, general manager for Jo-Di's Sound Centers, Hartford, Conn.

Merchandising senior VP Jim Pearse of Ultimate Electronics, Thornton, Colo., agreed that “More cars are accepting double DIN, and it does present itself well in the dash and is easy to use.”

Pioneer said sales of double DIN DVD took off more rapidly than anticipated this year, noting its AVH-P6800DVD six-disc changer/DVD/monitor is exceeding expectations by double digits.

If navigation/DVD is included, Pioneer notes that even at the high price of $2,250, sales of its new high-end double-DIN AVIC-Z1 is outselling expectations. “We're pleasantly surprised,” said Karen Rubin, marketing and product planning director for navigation.

JVC said it expects to broaden its double-DIN lineup “extensively” in January.

“If you are looking at in-dash components, [double DIN] is unquestionably the fastest growing category,” said Clarion retail sales senior VP Ralf Engelbrecht.

Single-DIN DVD, however, still represents the bulk of in-dash DVD/monitor sales, and this category is also seeing strong growth, fueled mainly by recent price declines, said industry members. Jensen said its single-DIN DVD sales outnumber its double DIN by as much as 8-to-1.

Audiovox, which owns the Jensen brand, has singled out DVD/monitors as a key area of focus. “Our hope is that as prices get to the more volume level, we will attract traditional autosound customers,” said mobile electronics senior VP Tom Malone

He explained, “A kid goes into a stereo shop and he sees 19 CD players and three beautiful multimedia screens — to him he's thinking, 'I'd rather not buy anything until I can afford this.' But the difference in price between affordable CD and multimedia is $400 or $500, so it's not there yet for everyone.”

But the gap between CD and DVD/monitors is quickly narrowing because prices of the latter are falling and are expected to continue to drop by Christmas.

Last year's prices on both double- and single-DVD/monitors were in the $999 to $1,499 range for name-brand models. This year many models are found in the $899 to $999 range for name brands, and at about $599 for second-tier brands, said suppliers.

Single-DIN, second-tier brand pricing is already down to $399 for non-touch-screen DVD/monitors, with many industry members speculating that touch-screen prices, now at about $599, could also fall to $399 by Christmas.

Already, said Kenwood, the “video products at $400 are beginning to cannibalize the mid- to high-end in-dash CD market because for $100 more, customers can step up from a $299 CD player to a $399 DVD,” said car electronics VP Keith Lehmann.

He voiced the familiar tale of woe on rapidly falling prices “This has more negative than positive effect on the dealers. It morphs a CD customer into a DVD customer, but not in a way that the deal is going to make money.” But Audiovox said retailers are looking to get prices down to help make up for lost sales on CD players.

Even Wal-Mart is entering the single-DIN in-dash DVD/monitor market for the first time this year. The retail giant is test marketing the Jensen VM9311 in certain stores with plans to roll it out to all stores, said Jensen. It is also offering the Pioneer AVH-P5700DVD at $679 on the Internet, according to The Jensen VM9311 is listed on the Wal-Mart Web site at $488.

In new products, Clarion is about to ship the double-DIN MAX 675 VD with 7-inch screen, iPod and navigation capability at a target street price of $1,000. The optional navigation black box will also have a target price of $1,000. A package deal for the 675 with navigation may be offered in the $1,800 range, said the company.

New from Kenwood is the KVT-617 DVD single-DIN DVD with 7-inch screen. It works with an optional iPod adapter, TV tuner, navigation system or rear-vision camera at $1,200 suggested retail price.

In-Dash DVD Sales Year-To-Date Through May
(compared with CD Sales)
ProductUnit sales% ChangeDollar Sales% Change
In-dash DVD/monitors141,000+60%$87 million+31%
In-dash CD3,200,000-29%$356 million-28%
Source: CEA © TWICE 2006

Percentage Of U.S. Vehicles With Double-DIN Openings
Note: Includes vehicles with slightly larger than double-DIN openings and includes vehicles that offer double DIN as an option.
Source: Victory Technologies © TWICE 2006

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