Survey: Premium Audio Drives New-Car Selection

October 03, 2018

Audi offers a nine-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo system in its S8 sedan, helping to meet the demand for premium-brand audio systems among new-car buyers. Photo courtesy Audi AG

Audi offers a nine-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo system in its S8 sedan, helping to meet the demand for premium-brand audio systems among new-car buyers. Photo courtesy Audi AG

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — Branded audio system volumes in new vehicles are expected to grow from just under 12.4 million units globally in 2018 to 14.7 million units in 2023, according to new vehicle production forecasts for these systems from business information provider IHS Markit.

A recent IHS survey confirms consumer demand for these systems remains high, with more than half of respondents indicating preferences to have a brand-name car audio system in their next new vehicle. Five key automotive markets were covered in the analysis, including the U.S., Japan, China, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Among survey respondents, 73% indicated that a brand-name audio system would influence their vehicle purchase decision. In addition, 54% of those respondents that wanted a branded audio system wanted it to be standard on their vehicle.

When asked about what features customers were willing to pay for, brand was a much more powerful feature, with 33% of respondents noting they would be willing to incur the cost — second only to 360-degree sound — which 34% of respondents agreed to pay for. Slightly more than half of all respondents globally would prefer to have some sort of branded audio solution in their vehicle.

“There also seems to be a lack of understanding on what constitutes a premium system,” said Brad Gottschalk, automotive audio analyst at IHS Markit and the report’s co-author. “Customers seem to equate quality with brand, rather than specific individual features.”

Responses from more than 5,000 vehicle owners across the regions indicating an intention to purchase a new vehicle within the next 36 months were analyzed and reviewed in the 2018 Automotive Premium Audio Consumer Analysis.

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