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Study Finds Consumers Prefer “Real” In-Car Radio Over App

In-car CD use remains high, according to Ipsos findings

AM/FM radio remains the preferred audio entertainment option in the car, according to a study by market research firm Ipsos on behalf of iHeartMedia. Responses from some 1,036 persons age 18 and over were included.

While consumers use new streaming services, virtually all consumers 99% — are comfortable with the current AM/FM in-car radio operation, according to the findings. Just over 90% of consumers prefer physical radio buttons and controls built into the car dashboard, rather than AM/FM being an app that appears in the car’s electronic interface; only 9% say they would want it changed into a dashboard app.

The study makes clear that “in spite of consumers’ love of apps and new digital products, they have a great attachment to their AM/FM radio and an overwhelming desire to keep its operation and function as it is,” said Thomas Spinelli, vice president of Ipsos MediaCT. “The in-car AM/FM radio is still a universally known audio platform ­ and its ease of use, convenience, features and familiarity continue to make it a top consumer choice for in-car audio.”

Additionally, AM/FM radio still dominates in-car listening as the top platform used, with 84% of consumers using it in the car, followed by CD players at 64% — but radio still maintains a leadership position over the next closest service choice, Sirius/XM, ­ which had 22%. Pandora was 18%; iHeartRadio was 8%; HD Radio 7%; and Spotify was 7%, according to the findings.

The findings are at odds with manufacturers’ trend of removing CD players from car radios.

Ipsos found that 80% of consumers chose AM/FM car radio as the top option for their car’s entertainment system, followed by the CD player at 68%, satellite radio at 45%, and a streaming music service at 34%.