Australian car buyers demand built in radios, finds study

Broadcast radio continues to dominate as the most preferred source of in-car entertainment across the globe, as a major new study released by Edison Research shows that 90% of Australian car buyers say broadcast radio should be standard in every vehicle.

Among the 1,044 recent and prospective car buyers surveyed in Australia, almost all (90%) say a broadcast radio tuner should be standard equipment in every car, a trend that is consistent across age groups, indicating strong demand among current and future car buyers.

The survey – commissioned by WorldDAB, sponsored by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) and other organisations – interviewed those who had recently purchased or leased a new car, or plan to do so in the near future. In addition to Australia, the survey also conducted interviews among car buyers in the UK, USA, France, Germany and Italy.

The study found:

  • Nearly 80% of consumers are less likely to buy or lease cars without a built-in radio tuner.
  • Consumption of broadcast radio is significantly higher than for any other form of in-car audio; 94% want access to radio to remain free.
  • Australian car buyers’ most desired radio features include voice controls and content information.

When considering the most valued standard-fit audio features in a new car, having a broadcast radio tuner ranks among the highest for prospective car buyers (rated ‘important’ by 86%), alongside USB ports (rated ‘important’ by 87%) and the availability of Bluetooth (rated ‘important’ by 88%), and well ahead of smartphone mirroring technology (Android Auto is rated ‘important’ by 66% and Apple CarPlay by 60%).

CRA Chief Executive Officer, Joan Warner, said: “Despite an increase in other audio options, Australians still love to listen to radio in the car. Listening to local news and entertainment delivered free to air by local voices is an essential in-car feature for Australian drivers.”

“The ability for drivers to receive up-to-date local community news and information via free to air broadcast radio in the car, particularly in the case of emergency, also came through strongly in the research. Australian drivers want to be connected to what is happening in their community,” said Warner.

Day-to-day consumption of broadcast radio among motorists in Australia remains significantly higher than for any other form of audio content. 63% of respondents say they listen to broadcast radio in the car ‘frequently’, versus 24% for online streaming music services and 14% for CDs.

Respondents say the primary reason for listening is ‘to get news and information’, cited by 64%, followed by ‘to hear favourite songs’ (40%).

A clear majority don’t want to pay for radio – 94% say it is ‘important’ that radio should remain free to listen to – as it is currently via analogue and digital broadcast radio tuners.

The importance of free-to-air radio was highlighted by motorists’ concerns about data charges for streamed content: a clear majority (71%) of those who currently listening to audio via their mobile device say they are ‘concerned’ about how much data they are using.

Consumption of broadcast radio overall remains very high among today’s car buyers in Australia, with 85% saying they have listened in the last week, and 68% saying they listen at least once per day.

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