In-car audio: What’s the latest?

Two papers have been released this week detailing radio listening habits in cars.
Consumer research by Edison Research, titled Hacking the Computer Code found American drivers switch AM/FM stations 22 times per commute.
“Even as in‐car audio use continues to evolve, Americans remain ‘button punchers,” Edison said. “Nearly 75% of those who consume audio in the car are likely to switch at least occasionally over the course of their commute.”
Meantime research by Pandora, “The State Of In-Car Audio, New Insights On Today’s Consumers” has backed up the findings by Edison Research but uncovered commercials were the top reason for that channel-flipping, followed by disliking the currently-playing song.

Edison does suggest commercial breaks “drive some, but not all, tune-aways”. In some cases, the switch is about “an ongoing quest for a better song.

It identified three groups:
•   The Restless: over one-fifth of respondents (21%) “constantly” switch.
•   The Seekers: over half of the survey (52%) “occasionally” switch, perhaps more purposefully than the Restless cohort.
•   The Keepers: 27% are evidently more easily satisfied, and “mostly” stay with one choice.
Pandora found controlling song choice had a bigger impact than just surfing stations: “40% of commuters connect their phones to their cars regularly in order to hear what they want. Because of this habit, 59% of commuters who plan to buy a car in the next year called connected dashboards an “important” factor in their decision”.
It found for cars older than model year 2006, “more than half of the music comes from traditional radio (53%). But the streaming music percentage rises for more modern vehicles. Although its share of the total is just 12%, among cars newer than model year 2012 it’s 15%”.
Meantime Edison asked respondents to name the audio choice they’d have in their car if they could only have one and “Streaming Internet” was the first choice of only 28% of those who currently stream Internet Radio in their car.



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