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In-Car PMP Use Rising: NPD

Port Washington, N.Y. –  In-vehicle use of portable media devices is
rising, according to The NPD Group, with sales of products that are designed to
integrate portable devices in the vehicle accounting for more than $170 million
in 2011.

NPD’s most recent study,
“Mobile CE: A Look Inside the Vehicle,” found 84 percent of vehicle owners have
a portable media device and more than three-quarters (79 percent) are using
them in the car. Half of smartphone owners and 37 percent iPod owners said they
use their devices “always” or “most of the time” while driving. 

Older technologies were
still popular, however: 73 percent still use their FM radio during most car
trips, and 57 percent said having a CD player “will be vital in their decision
to purchase their next car stereo system.”

“Traditional radio and
CD audio remain firmly entrenched in the vehicle from both a device and
entertainment standpoint,” said Ben Arnold, NPD’s industry analysis director.
“But as ownership of mobile devices, digital content, and apps expands,
consumers will be looking for ways to customize the in-vehicle environment with
content and services.”

Regarding in-vehicle
connectivity, 32 percent said this feature is “highly important” when buying
car audio products.

While 18 percent of
vehicle owners have an auxiliary input installed into their vehicle stereo
system, 11 percent are connecting through a USB port, NPD said. Although only
13 percent of vehicles have wireless connectivity, more than half of those who
do have it said they always use it or use it most of the time.

 “The key is for auto makers and traditional
audio manufacturers to facilitate consumer use of connected devices in the
vehicle, allowing content from the smartphone, tablet or digital media player
to easily stream or be controlled through the deck mounted in the dashboard,”
Arnold said.  “We’re only going to see
greater consumer attachment to social media, streaming audio and video, and
other services as content options grow.” 

NPD study surveyed more
than 1,600 vehicle owners in December 2011.