Report finds radio remains essential in-car

New research suggests radio remains an essential part of the in-car experience, and is the most listened-to audio platform in the car.

The “Dashboard Dialogue” study 2023 is a major survey of recent and prospective car buyers conducted by Edison Research for WorldDAB – the global industry forum for DAB digital radio. It provides an in-depth review of DAB radio’s usability in the car – with videos from consumers detailing their likes and dislikes, plus what they love about radio in the car today. The new research was conducted across France, Germany and the UK, through in-car interviews with radio listeners, and over 2,400 online interviews.

Researchers say that, Reinforcing the need for broadcast radio to remain prominent in the dashboard, they found that 91% of recent and prospective car buyers said it was important that their recent or next vehicle has DAB/DAB+ or FM radio.

82% of prospective car buyers, and 79% of recent car buyers would have been “much less” or “somewhat less” likely to have purchased their recent vehicle if it did not have a radio. Meanwhile 86% of recent/prospective car buyers “would really miss having radio in a vehicle if it were no longer available”.

One driver said: “If there was no radio, that would be awful, I’d prefer to go without the air-conditioning.”
Radio remains the most listened-to audio platform in the car, with 86% of recent or prospective car buyers listening to DAB/DAB+ or FM radio in a vehicle in the last week. In the in-car interviews, drivers said they valued the radio for its role in providing news updates, traffic alerts, and weather forecasts. “I can’t look at my phone when driving to read the news, so I rely on the car radio for the traffic in my area,” said one listener. Some also said the radio offers companionship during their drives, with the live nature of broadcasts providing a sense of connection and engagement.

Radio’s popularity endures, with 87% of recent or prospective car buyers agreeing radio is consistently reliable, and 75% agreeing it provides a better listening experience in the car than other types of audio sources. Clearer sound was often mentioned by listeners as a benefit of DAB+, with many saying they appreciate the greater variety of radio stations available through DAB+. “I think it’s brilliant – it makes me want to listen to the radio more”, one driver said, with another adding: “I’ve discovered some new stations and I now have this great display.”

The results build on previous research conducted in 2021, when WorldDAB’s Car Buyers Survey found 90% of car buyers said broadcast radio should be standard in every vehicle, and over 80% of consumers would be less likely to buy or lease cars without a built-in radio tuner.

The new study was unveiled at WorldDAB Automotive 2023 in Paris, by Megan Lazovick, Vice President of Edison Research. The annual industry event brings together broadcasters and automotive manufacturers from around the globe.

WorldDAB President Patrick Hannon said: “The findings of this research confirm the importance of keeping broadcast radio prominent in the car. It’s once again clearly demonstrated in this study that listeners love radio, and their audio experience significantly influences overall car satisfaction. With DAB+ now standard in new cars across Europe, we’re committed to working together with the automotive sector to ensure the best possible in-car experience for radio listeners now and in the future.”

(Picture – World DMB)

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