Mobile Audio: What Consumers Want


ALPHARETTA, GA. – Consumers are more interested in swapping out their existing car stereo for one that controls a connected iPod or iPhone than they are in buying satellite radio or HD Radio for their vehicle, a MarketSource survey of consumers found.

They’re also more interested in buying a car stereo head unit that connects to any cellular smartphone to stream Internet radio stations and music services.

Those are some of the findings from a nationwide on-line consumer survey conducted exclusively for TWICE by MarketSource, a provider of integrated sales and market services and market research. The company compiled responses from adults ages 18 and up in 501 households. The sample size yielded a 95 percent confidence level, meaning that if the same survey were conducted 100 times across different sets of 501 respondents, the results would be the same 95 percent of the time. The margin of error is 5 percentage points.

Of the adult respondents, 49 percent were female and 18 percent were ages 18-30.

Among the key findings, MarketSource found that 51 percent of adults are very or somewhat interested in replacing their car stereo in the next year with one that connects directly to an iPod/iPhone’s multipin connector to charge the Apple devices, select the devices’ songs from the head unit, and view song information on the head unit’s display.

A total of 64 percent also said they would be very or somewhat interested in buying an adapter in the next year to add the same features to their existing car stereo head unit.

Meanwhile, more people are listening to an iPod, iPhone or other MP3 player through their car stereo system than last year. A total of 52 percent of respondents said they listen to music from an iPod, iPhone or other MP3 players through their car stereo system, up from 36 percent in a year-ago survey. The survey did not ask whether they plug the mobile device’s headphone output into a head unit’s 3.5mm auxiliary input, used an FM adapter of one kind or another, or use an iPod/ iPhone-controlling head unit.

Internet radio:

Interest is also high listening to Internet radio and music services through car stereo systems. A total of 57 percent of respondents said they would be very or somewhat interested in listening to Internet radio and music services through their car stereo system. A total of 47 percent of all respondents would also be interested in replacing their car stereo system with one that would enable them to do so. The respondents weren’t asked whether they would be interested in a car stereo that would control the selection of Internet radio streams.

Satellite radio:

Only 16 percent of people who don’t own satellite radio are very or somewhat interested in getting car satellite radio in the next year, down from last year’s 24 percent. Part of the drop, however, could be attributed to satellite-radio’s increased penetration rates in vehicles.

The survey found that satellite-radio ownership in the car rose to 30 percent from the year-ago 19 percent. Two percent didn’t know if they have car satellite radio or not.

Among the 30 percent of polled consumers who have satellite radio in their car, 61 percent have an active subscription; the rest aren’t listening to satelliteradio programming.

Among consumers with car satellite radio, Market- Source also found that 70 percent said their satellite radio is part of the factory-installed sound system. Only 30 percent purchased satellite radio at retail.

HD Radio:

Among those who don’t own an HD radio, interest is rising, with 30 percent of non-owners saying they are very or somewhat interested in purchasing the technology for their car in the next year, up from last year’s 28 percent. For the survey, consumers were informed that HD Radio provides digital-quality music and additional stations not available through analog AM/FM car radios.

The percentage of respondents owning car HD Radio was not available.


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