Get on the Road
Consider also that many of the head units available today can be viewed as an on-the-go version of the home surround sound receiver. Through support of multi-channel audio, TV tuners, DVD playback, these DIN-sized dynamos deliver a surround sound experience in the car. Car speaker manufacturers are likewise sustaining this trend with an increasingly wide array of solutions suitable for fashioning a 5.1 surround sound environment on four wheels.
Unfortunately, sales of mobile video solutions in the aftermarket are being pressured by escalating OEM solutions and system-in-a-bag solutions. Case in point, dollar sales of overhead console monitors grew only one percent in 2003 to $105 million. As a result of mounting competition from OEMs, CEA forecasts flat to negative growth for aftermarket mobile video solutions in the near term. This is not to suggest that retailers abandon the mobile video segment, but a signal that this segment may not develop beyond a niche. The aftermarket for navigation systems is in a similar position. The key for retailers in the new car audio space is selecting categories that resonate with your customers and that you can adequately support.
What could change everything is telematics, which enable wireless communication between the car and external sources. This technology could soon create a bevy of aftermarket opportunities for products to receive content and services to provide it. Reading the tea leaves of the telematics transformation is difficult at this point, but this space is worth watching.