Good news for CarPlay: digital music is overtaking in-vehicle infotainment

Consumers who have long been interested in portable digital media and streaming internet radio are now beginning to use these outlets regularly in the car, according to Strategy Analytics

As usage of these features has now overtaken the CD player in many key demographics, this presents a key question: if CD players are falling out of favor, what will replace them? Strategy Analytics has found that the in-vehicle media landscape in the US, Western Europe and China is fragmented. The trend to portable digital media and streaming Internet radio has important implications not just for the future of in-car radio, but for the advance of Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto, notes the research group.

Strategy Analytics says broadcasters need to more rapidly embrace and promote dedicated apps for their stations. Becoming compatible with mirroring solutions such as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto will ensure they remain competitive in the long run.

Usage and interest for CD players continues to fall; less than half of consumers surveyed in each region that have CD players use them weekly. They continue to be used less frequently than any other infotainment source

Whether stored or streamed, digital music is the emerging leader for in-vehicle infotainment for the next several years, notes Strategy Anaytics. The rise and acceptance of mirrored systems such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Baidu CarLife is leading to serious implications for many in the traditional infotainment landscape

"Interest is turning into usage: Android Auto and CarPlay owners are relying on their mirrored system for most (if not all) of their media-related tasks,” Derek Viita, Senior Analyst and report author commented. “This is particularly interesting from a UX viewpoint: in our numerous benchmarks of on-market systems, consumers tend to find integrated implementations of apps and services to be confusing at best and unusable at worst. Mirrored systems are reported as 'usable and delightful’."

Compatible with the iPhone 5 and later models, CarPlay provides a simplified way to use your iPhone interface on a car’s touch screen, giving users access to Siri voice controls, as well as Apple Maps, Apple Music, Phone, Messages, and a variety of third party apps.