Many of us remember radio controlled cars being very popular when we were kids. When technology was just becoming affordable and computer games were just taking off. However over the years it’s become a niche toy that is not seen as often. There are many forums related to remote control cars but are not as vibrant as they once were. The question must be asked – are RC Cars still popular?
Are RC Cars Still Popular?
While RC Cars are still popular it has slowly diminished a little over the last 15 years according to Google Trends. This is not the case everywhere. While RC Cars popularity in the UK and many parts of the world have reduced it isn’t the case everywhere. In the US Google Trends suggests that levels over the last 15 years are constant.
RC Cars Popularity in the UK
The number of searches for RC Cars from 2004 to 2021 has slowly declined as you can see in the screen print above – this screen print is from Google Trends and covers data for just the UK.
RC Cars Popularity Globally
Globally you can see the same sort of trend line slowly heading downwards although in the last couple of years it has stopped its decline.
Why the change?
As far as I can see there are three main reasons why radio controlled cars have declined slightly over the last 15 years. They are:
- Increase in Video Games
- Social Media
- Change in RC Focus
When I was a child we spent a lot of our holidays and after school time outdoors. For some this meant racing your RC Car around your neighbourhood. For others it meant riding of bikes or playing football but we were outside.
These days many more kids play indoors. They sit and play computer games and as a result there has been a decline in all outdoor activities. This includes radio controlled cars.
Social media began in force in the mid noughties. Now there are more social media platforms that I could ever name. Sure I know of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. I’ve heard of something called Snap Chat but I have no idea what it does nor do I want to find out. I am not into social media having given up my Facebook account last year. I’d rather get outside and race.
I am however not ‘normal’. Many people especially teenagers love social media where they can take photos of their meal or perhaps film their cat being scared by a cucumber. Its one of the most modern forms of cheap and easy entertainment. It is another reason why people do not build and race RC Cars to the level they once did.
Change in RC Focus
There is also another more interesting change that has happened in recent years. There has been a change in the type of RC vehicle that people use. The RC car has taken a hit but more people have started to fly drones like quadcopters and RC Helicopters.
The google trends graph below shows both RC Cars (in blue) and Drones (in red) and as you can see while RC Cars has slowly declined Drones has shot up.
Trends with Drones
The future is Drones
Drones are everywhere these days. They fly for the military dropping bombs on terrorists, they work for the police filming protests and they even work for the water board filming from up high to identify where leaks are. They are everywhere.
It is no surprise then that they are also an very popular toy with hundreds of models available. I have nothing against a drone except that it is pushing focus of those with an interest in RC towards drones and slowly away from cars. This doesn’t have to be the case.
RC Cars are still extremely popular they just aren’t as popular as they once were. A generation of children who stay in doors along with the all too exciting RC drones has left cars with more competition than ever before – but they are still popular.
At the end of the day there will always be a RC Car industry. Radio Controlled cars are great fun and because they resemble the very cars people drive on a day to day basis kids (and adults) will always want to play with them. There are hundreds of models available with all manner of features. And that is why I know the industry will go on.
So yes RC Cars are not as popular as they once were they are still very popular and in an online world where people do not want to leave the house the very fact they are still around shows you their true appeal.