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Edison Research: Motorists Still Love Radio

Megan Lazovick shared three key findings at the WorldDAB Automotive conference

Despite all the hype surrounding in-car streamed audio, motorists still love radio best — the research proves it. That was the takeaway of an Edison Research study presentation at the WorldDAB Automotive 2023 conference on June 15, 2023. The one-day conference was staged in person in Paris, France, and made available to the world online. The WorldDAB association  promotes the digital audio broadcasting (DAB) radio transmission standard around the globe. It commissioned the Edison Research study.

This presentation was based on 800 interviews with “radio listeners who purchased their vehicle within the past three years in France, Germany and the UK,” said Megan Lazovick, Vice President of Edison Research. The interviews were done with two different groups: “Half the in-person interviews were done with people in their own vehicles,” Lazovick said. “They drove up and we talked to them.” The other half were people that Edison Research put into new vehicles with touchscreen content dashboards, so that they could gauge their reactions.

Megan Lazovick at the WorldDAB Automotive 2023 conference in Paris, France. (Credit: WorldDAB)

Three Key Findings Support In-Car Radio

Based on these 800 in-car interviews, Edison Research came up with three key findings. All three are good news for radio.

“First, radio is the most listened to audio platform in the car,” Lazovick said. “This research confirms it. With all of the new technologies on the dashboard, radio is number one in the car.”

According to Edison Research’s data, 61 percent of the people interviewed said they listen to radio in the car most often. “That’s more than online music services, owned music collections and others combined,” said Lazovick. 

Moreover, 86 percent listened to FM, DAB or DAB+ radio in their vehicle in the last week.

“So radio listening is a solid habit among car buyers,” she said. Also, 87 percent of recent and prospective car buyers agree that radio is consistently reliable, and 75 percent agreed that radio provides a better listening experience in the car than other types of audio sources.

“Think about how incredible this figure is,” said Lazovick. “Three-fourths of car buyers think the radio is the best option in the car.”

Secondly, Edison Research learned that the actual hands-on “audio experience is a key part of a person’s satisfaction in their vehicle and more importantly, [that] removing friction from the in-car audio experience increases a person’s satisfaction with a vehicle,” she told the WorldDAB audience. In other words, the easier it is for motorists to access radio on their new car dashboards, the happier they are with the experience.

Third, “radio is an essential part of the in-car experience,” said Lazovick. “Drivers we spoke to cannot disconnect radio from the in-car experience. The two are linked in the minds of the consumer in every market we studied.”

The bottom line: The best way for the radio industry to maintain in-car radio’s popularity with drivers is to ensure that it is available in their cars, and easy to access from their car dashboards.

Nevertheless, “there’s still some work to do with DAB awareness,” Lazovick said. “Radio awareness was the highest in the UK where 96% of car buyers knew about DAB. Most German car buyers are familiar with DAB at 84%, but awareness is lagging in France where only 45% of the car buyer population is familiar with the term. However, most of those who are aware of DAB use it.”

This is Part 3 of a four-part series on the 2023 WorldDAB Automotive conference. Read Part 4

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