Consumers Prefer Old-School AM/FM Radio in the Car, Study Finds | Edmunds

Consumers Prefer Old-School AM/FM Radio in the Car, Study Finds


NEW YORK — Even though connected vehicles offer a variety of high-tech communication and entertainment options, a new study found that 84 percent of American consumers still prefer listening to AM/FM radio while driving.

That conclusion was reached by market research firm Ipsos, which conducted online surveys in January and March of this year, asking drivers about their infotainment preferences.

Even though music streaming is now commonplace, Bluetooth is ubiquitous and many vehicles are able to function as Wi Fi hotspots, 67 percent of those surveyed said they turn on the good old-fashioned radio as soon as they get in their cars, and 62 percent listen to the radio at least once per day.

Just as interesting, CDs — widely considered another outdated music delivery system — ranked 2nd in the survey, with 64 percent of respondents relying on discs for their in-car entertainment. However, 68 percent did admit that they haven't purchased any new CDs in the past year, and 22 percent said that's because they're making the transition to digital streaming services.

Ipsos found that cost is a major factor in consumers' selection of on-the-road entertainment. For example, among those who do stream music, one-third are not paying for the service, and fully 80 percent said they would not be willing to pay in the future.

"The ability to listen to free music is important to Americans, as is their comfort with their current AM/FM setup," said Ipsos Vice President Thomas Spinelli in a statement. He concluded: "The overwhelming current popularity of radio illustrates that advertisers and marketers may want to think more buttons and knobs than bells and whistles — at least when it comes to the in-car environment."

Other than cost, why do some drivers shy away from the latest vehicle technology?

As reported by Edmunds recently, there are the hard-core Luddites who eschew all modern technology.

Other people don't understand high-tech features and don't want to take the time to learn about them. Some find touchscreens and multicolored displays to be a distraction in a vehicle. And then there are those who are concerned about connected cars being vulnerable to hacking and cyber-attacks.

Whatever the case, Edmunds put together a helpful list of new cars and trucks to meet the needs of shoppers who want minimal or no connectivity in their next new vehicle.

These "unconnected" models include the 2015 Hyundai Accent GS hatchback and GLS sedan, 2015 Kia Rio LX, hatchback or sedan, 2015 Mazda 3 iSV sedan, 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata, 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car, 2015 Nissan NV passenger van, 2015 Nissan Titan S pickup, King Cab and Crew Cab models and the 2015 Smart Fortwo Pure Coupe.

Edmunds says: There are plenty of vehicle choices available for consumers who want high-tech entertainment, as well as those who want to keep kicking it old school.

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