Over the past few years, the market for dashcams has slowly increased – and 2016 could well be the year they hit mainstream adoption.
Dashboard cameras sit inside a vehicle and can record video footage through the windscreen, capturing any accidents. Their always-on nature makes them very well- suited to this digital age, but what’s the UK market like?
From January to October 2015, the dashcam sector increased year-on-year in volume by 353 per cent, and in value by 381 per cent, according to analyst GfK.
Maplin also reported a 500 per cent increase in sales in March 2015, after the Car Crash Britain programme was aired on ITV.
Dominic Ashford, senior account manager at GfK, tells PCR: “The strong growth for dashcams is due to a combination of a relatively small install-base for these products and promotions from retailers, manufacturers and insurers.
“The majority of sales of dashcams are through the traditional, offline channel.”
While the UK dashcam market is growing, it’s nowhere near the likes of other better-established markets such as Korea.
Tim Sagar, business development manager at dashcam vendor Thinkware, says: “The problem with the UK is we’ve got off on the wrong foot with dashcams. We started with the Chinese and Taiwanese imports and it’s become something similar to the satnav with the suction mount. But the problem is if you have a suction mount, you legally can’t cover up more than four centimetres of the windscreen.
“If you look at the Korean market, those products are all close to the windscreen and can be hidden behind a rear- view mirror – and they have parking modes. So when you switch the engine off, the recording stops and you have motion detection. The other thing with Korea is probably 99 per cent of dashcams are professionally installed, so you don’t have wires everywhere.
“Retailers need to be aware of dashcams and to provide an installation service.
Margins are similar to camera margins and the products are better-suited to the kind of companies that can offer carphone installations.”
Paul Singh, MD of CCTV specialist Y3K, who was one of the first to develop a plug and play CCTV system, agrees that retailers should have dashcams on their radar.
“Make no mistake – this is the next big thing, the next big opportunity,” he explains. “Every single brand that doesn’t manufacture dashcams is now badging them up – Transcend, Garmin, Motorola etc.
“It’s going to become a standard fitment and insurance companies want that. Dashcams are the only real evidence you can now provide quickly and reliably. They need to record how fast the car was moving, how the driver was driving, the time and date, have a wide angle lens and show what happened before the accident.
“Retailers and resellers need to decide what they want to sell. A simple camera on a windscreen will do the job, but for other types of companies, anyone running a small business up to large fleets, you need to go for a professional camera. That’s what we’re masters at.”
Sagar says insurance companies can help grow the demand for dashcams.
“We’re seeing insurance companies offering discounts on dashcams,” he adds. If you’ve got evidence, the company won’t need to go to court,” he added. “The companies that install black boxes for young drivers are also starting to install dashcams too. So I think we’ll start to see mass production of dashcams within the insurance industry, and that will increase the awareness more and more.”
He also said that one in 120 car accidents is the fault of a dashcam owner, suggesting they drive more safely. A category that can reduce road accidents and give retailers a new revenue opportunity is certainly a welcome addition.
Y3K provides its dashcams through its Smart Witness vehicle camera division, while Thinkware supplies its products through Chameleon, Data Select and Northamber.