Remote Start-from-a-Phone Sales Update

Sales of smartphone-controlled remote start are beginning to make a dent in overall remote start sales.

The In-Car Experts (ICE) marketing/buying group reports that despite a warm winter, sales of remote starters were up for 35 percent of its members. The overwhelming reason, they said is because of increased sales of smartphone-based remote start.

(Still, 41 percent of ICE dealers said remote start sales were down due to the warm winter and 23 percent reported flat sales with last season).*

Directed is now at 1.2 million downloads for its SmartStart app that works with its smartphone-controlled remote start.

Auto Page is forecasting that sales for remote start from a phone could grow by 300 to 400 percent for this year over 2011.

Directed noted that the category will grow as smartphone ownership expands. Smartphone penetration in the U.S. is conservatively at about 50 percent this year, and should grow to about 75 percent over the next three years, which will, in turn, increase smartphone-remote start sales, said Directed VP Marketing Jim Jardin.

“Our retailers definitely saw increases with SmartStart…We’ve made that step from people wanting to control their remote start from a transmitter to smartphones,” said Jardin. A $100 rebate in Q4 and a $10 spiff for installers, also helped drive SmartStart sales in Q4, he said.

The spiff “helped the sales people and installers talk about it more.”

Compustar (Firstech) said it is investing in innovation in the segment and plans on adding the ability to link into car diagnostics from the smartphone app in future Drone Mobile products.

* ICE is a $280+ million car audio marketing/buying group with more than 200 storefronts in 40+ states.

Source: CEoutlook

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