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Study: Consumers Want More From Their Dashboard.

Ahead of today’s official opening of CES 2024, Xperi subsidiary DTS, Inc. released a new automotive report that explores the entertainment and features consumers want in today’s vehicle cabin. “From In-Vehicle Entertainment to Integrated In-Cabin Experience” concludes that the personal vehicle is rivaling or outpacing other so-called personal third spaces, which refers to a physical or virtual environment where one can relax or unwind. As the importance of the vehicle as a third space grows, consumers want more from their dashboard, valuing rich, comprehensive, personalized and discoverable content, including video.

Based on the results of a survey conducted by Censuswide and commissioned by DTS, the report finds that for the majority (65%) – and for nearly 80% of those age 44 and under – in-vehicle entertainment is important. Two-thirds of those 25 to 44 say they want that entertainment to be personalized, and to have the highest quality audio with easily discoverable content constantly updated to meet digital advances and evolving needs. In-dashboard video, a capability that DTS is marketing to automakers, is particularly important among younger demographics: over two-thirds of respondents aged 17-44 are interested in TV and on-demand streaming in the car with the same percentage saying that video capability would make them more likely to purchase a particular vehicle.

AM Radio Is Essential, Especially To Younger Consumers

While consumers are looking for personalized content and high quality audio, a majority (60%) agree that AM radio, which offers emergency/weather disaster updates, local content, community news, sports, and live, real-time traffic reports, is an indispensable part of their vehicle’s dashboard. Surprisingly, it is most important to those 17-44 than to those 45 and over. Of those who say that in-vehicle entertainment is important, having a broad range of content, such as local radio, streaming, podcasts, audio books, etc., is key, with 81% saying that this is important or extremely important.

An equal number (80%) say that accessing relevant, easily “discoverable” content that is recommended in the dashboard – without having to look for it – such as local radio, streaming, podcasts, audio books, etc., is important or extremely important. And nearly as many, 75%, indicated that content being personalized – suggested content that recognizes individual preferences or past choices – is important or extremely important.

Enhancing that content with rich visual/textual information, such as album cover images, biographical info about the artist and song listened (another Xperi/DTS offering), is important or extremely important to over 3 in 5 (63%), while being able to continue listening to a radio station digitally when the vehicle has gone out of broadcast range (a feature of DTS AutoStage) is important or extremely important to the vast majority (82%).

While, in many ways, consumers want the transition from their home to vehicle to be seamless – a place that knows their entertainment preferences from video to music – they also want it to be another space entirely, distinct from home, work, library, coffee shop and their mobile device – and this is particularly true of younger consumers.

Video in the dash is a big part of this with over two-thirds those aged 17–44 saying that having high-quality video capability in the dashboard/screens would positively influence their vehicle purchase choice. But survey takers were also clear that radio remains the essential anchor for the dashboard, especially among the younger cohort who will drive what the next generation of in-vehicle entertainment will look like.

“The role of the personal vehicle continues to evolve into much more than just a way to get from point A to point B and, with that, consumers’ in-cabin entertainment needs are becoming more complex – from deeply integrated content to easily discoverable, high-quality video,” said Jeff Jury, Senior VP/GM, Connected Car at Xperi. “As consumers, especially Gen Z and Millennials, look for an experience that makes the vehicle cabin a customizable, content-rich and comfortable third space, today’s technology offers automakers a unique opportunity to adopt progressive in-cabin platforms that can adapt rapidly to meet the evolving needs and preferences of their customers.”

Among key takeaways from the survey:

  • 70% of respondents between 25 and 34, and over 50% overall, view their vehicle as a third space.

  • 71% of those 25 to 34 (and 56% overall) say they want their built-in vehicle entertainment experience to be more than a mirror of their smart phone.

  • The majority (65%) of respondents – and nearly 80% of those 44 and under – say in-vehicle entertainment is important to them.

  • 67% of those between the ages of 17 and 44 are interested in having video, including TV and on-demand streaming available as part of their vehicle dashboard/screen entertainment choices.

The survey, conducted by Censuswide and commissioned by DTS, was fielded between September 29, 2023 – October 3, 2023. Download the report HERE.

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