Infinite Dial 2018: AM/FM radio still leads in-car audio

AM/FM radio is holding onto its strong lead as the most-used source of audio in cars. According to the latest Infinite Dial results, 82% of respondents ever tune in to AM/FM radio. That rate is the same as was reported in 2017, and down from the 84% in 2016.

CD players had a 49% response, down for a second consecutive year. (“I’m betting this is the last year we see CD players in the #2 spot,” observed John Rosso in the Infinite Dial Webinar.) Owned digital music had a 45% again, the same about reported in 2017, while online radio in cars has risen to 28%. The Infinite Dial has only tracked podcasts in cars for two years, but it has risen from 19% in 2017 to 23% in 2018.

In the slide below, note the growth of online radio and podcasts in the car. John Rosso called this one of the most important points of the 2018 Infinite Dial.

AM/FM radio also took the crown as the most-used source of audio in cars. In 2018, 56% of the survey respondents said it was their top choice in audio, down from the 63% reported in 2016. CDs and owned music collection were grouped together and have held a 15% share for the past three years. Online audio has shown growth in the last two years, reaching 9% in 2017 and 12% in 2018. Podcasts inched up from a 1% share of the replies to 3% in 2017, and it still commands that sliver.

Use of in-dash information and entertainment systems has been rising at a gradual rate. The latest results found that 15% of respondents have in-dash systems in their cars, which is an estimated population of 42 million.

Anna Washenko