Branded audio system volumes in new vehicles are expected to grow from just under 11-million units globally in 2016 to 14-million units in 2023, according to new vehicle production forecasts for these systems from IHS Markit.
A recent IHS Markit survey of consumers from five key regions 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. Among these, 81% indicated that a brand name audio system would influence their vehicle purchase decision. In addition, 53% of those respondents wanted a branded audio system to be standard on their vehicle.
Responses from more than 5 000 vehicle owners intending to purchase a new vehicle within the next 36 months were analysed and reviewed in the 2017 Automotive Premium Audio Consumer Analysis, representing five key automotive markets — the US, Canada, China, Germany and the UK. This is the fifth annual survey of its kind from IHS Markit and identified key attributes for consumers, providing insight into preferences, desires and future interest as new vehicle intenders return to market. A number of subjects were covered.
Bose is the most “influential” audio brand among all countries surveyed, excluding China, with Sony coming in at number two. In China, Sony is the most influential brand. Bose has a large lead in this area in almost every region, meaning that among consumers who are looking for a premium audio experience, Bose is the name that carries the most weight. Sony and Panasonic had the highest level of brand awareness across the nations surveyed. However, when respondents were asked how they recognise the brand — whether for car audio, home audio or other sources — Alpine emerged as the most recognised car audio brand.
Sony, Bose and Pioneer were identified as the top three brands owned or previously owned by respondents across the globe, according to the survey.
Respondents in all countries predominantly indicated they would choose the same brand again, with more than 95% of previous owners of vehicles with Bose systems saying they would buy a vehicle with the same audio brand again.
“Brand is an incredibly important aspect of the premium audio experience,” says Brad Gottschalk, analyst, automotive infotainment systems at IHS Markit. “For some consumers, brand is identified as the mark of quality when it comes to audio systems.”
When respondents in China were asked why they chose Sony, they indicated it ranked highest due to the good reputation of the brand, followed by good quality/sound, and recommendation/word of mouth. When respondents from other countries were asked why they chose Bose, good quality/sound was the highest followed by the good reputation of the brand.
Overall, consumers were attracted to 3D sound as the most desired feature. Brand followed closely behind, and other technical features (such as wattage and amplifiers) fell near the bottom of consumers’ wish lists.
“For many consumers, brand is much more important than specific features like wattage or number of speakers,” Gottschalk says. “There isn’t any specific combination of features that consumers define as a ‘premium’ audio experience.”
Overall, consumers across the five countries surveyed generally prefer a premium car audio system.
From a price perspective, respondents in the US, UK and Germany indicated a willingness to spend the most when considering a new vehicle with a premium audio system. US consumers were willing to pay an average of $573. Canadian respondents were the least interested in branded audio systems, noting their willingness to pay capped out at just $333. Chinese respondents fell just below the UK in terms of price, coming in at $475.