CEA Studies Retail For Car Electronics

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Arlington, Va. - The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) conducted a study that found that 85 percent of consumers are satisfied with their shopping experience for car electronics products.

The findings differ somewhat from results of a study commissioned by the 12-Volt Initiative car stereo group last year.  That study determined that many consumers

did not trust car stereo shops

to work on their car.  It also found that nearly a third of consumers could not name a car stereo brand and a quarter could not name a car stereo retailer.

The CEA study looked at consumers who already owned at least one car stereo item. It studied 1,000 respondents through Internet interviews this fall and found the average consumer in the pool owned more than two car electronics items.  Forty-four percent of the respondents said they owned a portable or handheld GPS product, and 23 percent owned an in-dash navigation system. In addition, 12 percent owned HD Radio, and 18 percent owned an amplifier. Also, 26 percent owned an in-dash car stereo with an iPod or MP3 connection, 14 percent had a vehicle tracking system and 10 percent had a video system.

A third of the respondents shop online for car electronics products; 63 percent said they shop at a general electronics store such as Best Buy; 42 percent said they shop at mass merchants such as Walmart, and 32 percent said they shop at an automobile electronics stores.

Nearly half of those making a purchase comparison shop and many considered their purchases for months before buying and also looked forward to the purchase.

On a Webinar discussing the findings, hosted Dec. 3, Anne Aldrich, partner at Artemis Strategy Group, suggested the high consumer anticipation before a purchase "is something retailers can take advantage of."

While 85 percent were satisfied with their purchasing experience, only 49 percent were satisfied with the installation experience.

Aldrich also noted, "When people buy these products, they are rewarding themselves. Or with GPS and vehicle tracking systems, safety was also important."

When asked why the findings differed from those of the 12-Volt Initiative, CEA senior research analyst Ben Arnold said, "The distinction in methodology was that was a qualitative study and this is a quantitative study that really incorporated the satisfaction with the devices as well as the retailer."

About a third of the consumers studied were highly engaged with the products and more likely to be younger males that are very interested in cars.  They were also likely to be a member of a minority group and with a fairly high income.  At the lowest level of engagement in the study were "women who drive their kids around," said Aldrich.


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