The race to the bottom in video surveillance is over.
After 3 years of aggressive price cuts and heavy sales and marketing expenditures, the Chinese manufacturer driven race to the bottom is done.
IPVM sees this pattern across the board - from integrator surveys (e.g., Top Manufacturers Gaining and Losing 2017, Top 2017 Trends), to Western manufacturer financial results (e.g., Axis, Avigilon) and discussions with management at major Chinese and Western manufacturers. While 2015 and 2016 were clearly the prime of the race to the bottom (recall #1 Threat 2015 - China), the sentiments and results have reversed in 2017, entering into 2018.
Key Factors Driving The End
The key factors behind the race to the bottom ending include:
- Cybersecurity problems - Long ignored, Hikvision's backdoor, Dahua's backdoor, ongoing mass hacks against Dahua recorders, etc. have made a cybersecurity a real concern for integrators today.
- Criticism of government ownership - The mounting reports and criticisms of Hikvison's government ownership (e.g., WSJ investigation, London Times investigation, UK Sun investigation, etc.) have damaged Hikvision, by far the largest driver of the race to the bottom.
- Growing local costs - Far greater costs to serve the Western market (including greater demands for quality and cybersecurity robustness plus sales and marketing expectations of integrators) have become clear, limiting how low prices can go.
- Price cuts less effective - The greater a company's market base, the more costly price cuts become since there are less potential new customers and more to lose by dropping prices for existing ones.
China Not 'Over'
To be clear, this does not mean that the Chinese manufacturers are 'over' or 'done'.