Surveillance Pricing: MSRP and Discounts

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jul 07, 2011

To compare prices in video surveillance, one must understand and factor in discounting variances. Significant differences exist between manufacturers in how and what level of discounting they offer. Making it more challenging, manufacturers tend to obscure what their specific practices are.

MSRP as Start

Essentially all manufacturers offer a "Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price" (or MSRP) which is generally the highest price that anyone would pay for a product.

At the same time, almost all manufacturers sell through channel partners to reach end users. That is, the manufacturer sells to distributors, dealers, integrators, etc. and those intermediaries then re-sell to the end user. Manufacturers always sell their products to their channel partners at a price less than MSRP, i.e., 'dealer pricing'. The level of pricing a channel partner receives often varies - primarily based on the ongoing order size and the level of commitment / exclusivity to that manufacturer.

Street Pricing

Rarely do end users pay MSRP pricing, similar to how car buyers do not usually pay 'sticker price'. The actual 'street price' that an end user pays is less than MSRP. How much less depends usually on two factors:

  • The size of the purchase and the negotiating power of the end user (as in any business deal)
  • The size of the standard dealer discount structure

2 Types of Dealer Discount Structure

In the video surveillance industry, there are two general and very distinct types of dealer discount structure. These are critical to recognize and factor in:

  • Traditional Security Dealer Discount: Generally 40% - 50% off of MSRP, this is a very sizable discount from MSRP. For example, a manufacturer using this structure may have an MSRP of $1000 for a camera but might sell that to its best dealers for $500. The effective street price that an end user will pay may be $600 or $650, far less than the MSRP. While the actual numbers vary by manufacturer, region, etc., this is the general structure of this approach. Like its name implies, the manufacturers that typically use this are traditional security companies such as Pelco, American Dynamics, Honeywell, March Networks, etc. However, some startups adopt this approach as it is the preferred one by long time security integrators.
  • IT Dealer Discount: Generally 10-20% off of MSRP, this is a modest discount. For example, a manufacturers with this approach may have an MSRP of $1000 for a camera but might still that to its best dealers for $850. The effective street price might be $950. Like its name implies, this is common with newer companies with a greater IT orientation. Axis and Vivotek are two camera manufacturers who take this approach.

Comparing Prices

When comparing prices, it is critical to factor dealer discounting structure differences. For example, comparing the MSRPs of a Pelco and Axis camera would be highly misleading without factoring in that Pelco's effective street pricing is much lower than its MSRP because of their larger dealer discounts.

In IPVM reports, we always including pricing and typically including references to online pricing which we have found to be the most accurate (though not perfect) way of predicting street pricing. When a manufacturer's products are not available online, we typically make reference to them either using a 'Standard Security Dealer Discount' and an 'IT Dealer Discount'.

2 reports cite this report:

Negotiating Discounts From Manufacturers on May 26, 2016
Is there room for just a little more discount in your purchase order?   This report outlines some common tactics that often work, and do not work,...
Legal Attack on MSRP - Impact on Hikvision, Sony, Pelco, More on Mar 09, 2016
MSRP? Make Suckers Really Pay? Many video surveillance manufacturers set their Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) to far higher levels...

Related Reports

Top Benefits Of Attending Trade Shows (Statistics) on May 15, 2018
150 integrators told IPVM: What are the top benefits of going to trade shows? The clear top 2 responses in order: (1) Networking (2) New...
Anixter Acquires 'PSIM Platform Inner Range - "Heart of Our Technology Differentiation" on Apr 30, 2018
Anixter Security has made a bold move, acquiring what it calls a PSIM platform as part of a $150 million deal, with Anixter's CEO Bob...
Key Control For Access Control Tutorial on Apr 16, 2018
End users spend thousands on advanced systems to keep themselves secure, but regularly neglect one of the lest expensive yet most important aspects...
GDPR For Video Surveillance Guide on Apr 12, 2018
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on May 25, but there is much confusion and no clear guidelines on...
Amazon Going To ISC West on Apr 05, 2018
Move over ADI and Anixter? Amazon will not have a booth at ISC West but they will be there meeting with security companies, offering Amazon's...
VMS New Developments Spring 2018 (Avigilon, Exacqvision, Genetec, Hikvision, Milestone, Network Optix) on Apr 04, 2018
What's new with VMS software? In this report, we examine new features and releases for Spring 2018 to track different areas of potential...
Brivo 'Buy Now' Online Campaign on Mar 26, 2018
Brivo has a new marketing campaign running across the web: Are you ready to buy access control now? Brivo tells IPVM this is a new campaign,...
Ingram Micro Owner HNA Declares "Victim of Conspiracy Against China" on Feb 08, 2018
Just 2 years ago, Ingram Micro was acquired by a Chinese company that paid them $6 billion in cash, nearly 40% more than their then stock...
Tri-Ed Is Now Anixter on Jan 23, 2018
Goodbye, Tri-Ed. As Tri-Ed's own website now makes clear: But what difference does this make for one of the industry's largest distributors? In...
If You Have 4 Cameras, You Can Throw Them Away, If You Have 400, They Throw You Away on Jan 19, 2018
Do users care about anything but price? Do user care about cybersecurity? Do users care about trusting their supplier? These have become...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Stealth / UCIT - Remote Video Monitoring Provider Profile on May 18, 2018
Can 2 remote video monitoring companies, Stealth Monitoring from the US and UCIT from Canada combine to impact the market and compete in a changing...
Cybersecurity for IP Video Surveillance Guide on May 18, 2018
Keeping surveillance networks secure can be a daunting task, but there are several methods that can greatly reduce risk, especially when used in...
Forced Entry / Duress Access Tutorial on May 17, 2018
Even though access control normally keeps people safe, tragedies have revealed a significant issue. If users are forced to unlock doors for...
ADT Stock Drops 50% Since IPO on May 17, 2018
It has been a brutal 4 months for ADT. They first expected to IPO at ~$18. They IPOed at $14, dropping immediately to $12.39 And now, not even...
Dahua 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested (NK8BR4) on May 16, 2018
Continuing our coverage of 12MP sensor fisheye cameras, we bought and tested the Dahua NK8BR4, examining: Default vs. Optimized...
Worst Manufacturer Technical Support 2018 on May 16, 2018
5 manufacturers stood out as providing the worst technical support to 190+ integrators in new IPVM results. These integrators answered: In the...
Installing Cameras in Plenums Tutorial on May 15, 2018
There is often confusion about plenum ceilings, with misinformation about what is required when running cables through them and mounting cameras...
Top Benefits Of Attending Trade Shows (Statistics) on May 15, 2018
150 integrators told IPVM: What are the top benefits of going to trade shows? The clear top 2 responses in order: (1) Networking (2) New...
Measuring For Security Installation Guide on May 15, 2018
Accurate measurement is a fundamental skill, yet many installers do not know how to do it. Using these tools are a key skill needed for security...
Arecont Files Ch.11, Agrees To Sell To Turnaround Specialist on May 14, 2018
The long-anticipated sale of Arecont Vision is finally happening. After raising $80 million in debt in 2014, a failed sale in 2017 and the...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact