How Important is Having Radio in The Dash?


According to results from a national CARAVAN survey conducted by ENGINE Insights for Xperi’s DTS the pandemic has increased the importance of the personal vehicle and in-dash infotainment today, versus pre-COVID. The study says this is especially true for Millennials and Gen Z.

What does this mean for radio? Let’s see what the study says.

According to the study, radio is indispensable or highly important to seven out of ten vehicle owners, with nearly 80 percent of Millennials valuing radio in the dashboard.

Eric Corliss, Manager, ENGINE Insights Manager Eric Corliss said he was surprised by what he found out about radio. “We were particularly struck by some of the demographic data: for example, that Millennials value radio in the dashboard so highly, with 78 percent saying it is indispensable and that households with children are most likely to find their vehicle more important today.”

According to the study, nine out of ten vehicle owners say it is important to have radio in their dashboard, with over half wanting it as the anchor of their media diet.

Other key findings include that dashboard entertainment/information has become more important in the pandemic because of the ability to listen to music as an anxiety reliever, given all the bad news and stress in the world (especially true for Gen Z) and the ability to access local news/pandemic bulletins. More than half say the kind of content they listen to in their vehicle has changed versus pre-pandemic.

“It comes as no surprise that the majority of car owners say radio is indispensable to the vehicle dashboard. At Xperi, we are true believers in the power of free broadcast radio,” said Jeff Jury GM, Connected Car, Xperi. “Given how highly Millennials value today’s radio, its relevance to the vehicle dashboard is confirmed for decades to come. This study also reinforces that car owners are looking for a dashboard that offers infotainment content that is personalized, discoverable, and textually and visually-rich.”

 Other highlights from the survey….

  • 91 percent of vehicle owners surveyed believe it is important to have radio in their dashboard, with 72 percent saying it is indispensable or very important.
  • 78 percent of Millennials say radio in the dashboard is indispensable versus 69 percent of their generational counterparts.
  • 64 percent of Gen Z/61percent of Millennials/65 percent with children place greater importance on dashboard entertainment/information today versus pre-COVID.
  • 80 percent of all respondents say it is important for their in-vehicle dashboard entertainment to be personalized to their particular tastes and interests.
  • Four in five vehicle owners (79 percent) feel it is very important that listening choices in their vehicle are free (radio/podcasts/etc.) versus subscription based.
  • 60 percent agree that radio is great when they run out of things to listen to in their media library; 58 percent find the clutter of content choices too difficult to sift through, so they mainly listen to their pre-programmed radio stations.
  • Over half of vehicle owners (52 percent) like having radio as the anchor for their media diet.

The CARAVAN survey was conducted by ENGINE Insights. The sample of 1,003 adults ages 18 and older comprised of 501 men and 502 women. The survey was done between January 4-6, 2021. Most questions in the survey were asked among vehicle owners.



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