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Home arrow Market Research Findings arrow Automotive arrow Two-Thirds of Adult Automobile Owners Who Own MP3/iPod Players Use the Device in their Vehicle
Two-Thirds of Adult Automobile Owners Who Own MP3/iPod Players Use the Device in their Vehicle PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harris Interactive   
02 Aug 2006

Harris Interactive Reports: Two-Thirds of Adult Automobile Owners Who Own MP3/iPod Players Use the Device in their Vehicle

Over half of them look forward to audio system interface technology

DETROIT and ROCHESTER, N.Y. – August 2, 2006 – According to the most recent wave of the Harris Interactive AutoTECHCASTSM study, 65 percent of adult vehicle owners who indicate that they own an MP3/iPod player state that they use some type of adapter to use their player while driving their vehicle. The rate of vehicle integration of this technology is highest for 25 to 44 year olds (72%).

Among all adult automobile owners, ownership of MP3/iPod players is about one in 10 (12%) and use in their vehicles varies considerably by age. MP3/iPod ownership is substantially higher (31%) among 18 to 24 years olds, and not surprisingly, ownership rates decrease consistently among older respondents, as low as five percent among those aged 55 and over.

These are some of the results from the latest wave of the Harris Interactive AutoTECHCAST, a bi-annual survey of adult vehicle owners in the United States. AutoTECHCAST provides in-depth U.S. consumer trends on 60 advanced automotive technologies, and this most recent wave includes a detailed section on MP3/iPod audio system interfaces. This wave of the study was conducted online between May 15 and June 2, 2006 among 12,857 U.S. adults ages 18 and over who own or lease a vehicle, have a valid driver’s license, have at least one household vehicle and own a listed U.S. model dated 2001 or newer.

"Vehicle owners 25 to 44 years of age are most likely to use their MP3 or iPod player in their vehicle," states Bryan Krulikowski, Senior Director of the Harris Interactive Automotive & Transportation (ATR) Research Practice. "This means that vehicle manufacturers need to pay specific attention to the types of vehicles these buyers are interested in and equip the audio systems accordingly. While new technologies and features typically trickle-down from luxury vehicles to mass-market vehicles, MP3 integration may become a ‘trickle-up’ feature given its young user base."

The future of MP3/iPod vehicle integration

Looking forward, over half (52%) of consumers who own or use an MP3/iPod player in their vehicle, and 14 percent of all adult vehicle owners, indicate that they are extremely or very likely to consider purchasing MP3/iPod Audio System Interface technology for their next vehicle. However, the technologies most readily available today for integrating MP3 players into the vehicle—such as FM-Modulators and Cassette Adapters—are the least preferred by these respondents. Instead, those interested in considering this technology for their next vehicle prefer to integrate their MP3/iPod player through an auxiliary jack located on the stereo head unit (39%) or through either Bluetooth (23%) or Firewire/USB connections (19%).

"The evolution of portable music devices—as well as car audio systems—has resulted in an expectation for excellent sound reproduction that consumers want replicated in their vehicle," states Krulikowski. "Unfortunately, today’s integration techniques may be a step behind what consumers truly desire as they do not always provide the quality of sound or convenience desired by consumers."

The trade-off of full control versus convenience

Overall, among those who say they are likely to consider an MP3/iPod Audio System Interface, only a small difference exists between those indicating a preference to manage the audio directly through the player so that no functionality is lost (44%) or those who are willing to give up some functionality in order to gain the convenience of managing the audio directly through the car stereo head unit (39%). However, among those who currently own an MP3/iPod player, maintaining full functionality of the unit is important, as 56 percent of these respondents indicate a preference to manage the audio directly through the player.

"The level of control that a driver has over the portable audio device is more than a convenience versus functionality issue," states Krulikowski. "Vehicle manufacturers need to consider the impact that player control has on driver distractions and balance this safety aspect with the ability to adequately use the device in the vehicle."


Harris Interactive conducted this AutoTECHCAST survey online in the United States between May 15 and June 2, 2006 among a total of 12,857 adults aged 18 and over. Qualified respondents had to own or lease a vehicle, have a valid driver’s license, have at least one household vehicle and own a listed U.S. model dated 2001 or newer. Figures for age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, income and region were weighted where necessary to align with population proportions. Propensity score weighting was also applied to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All surveys are subject to several sources of error. These include: sampling error (because only a sample of a population is interviewed); measurement error due to question wording and/or question order, deliberately or unintentionally inaccurate responses, nonresponse (including refusals), interviewer effects (when live interviewers are used) and weighting.

With one exception (sampling error) the magnitude of the errors that result cannot be estimated. There is, therefore, no way to calculate a finite "margin of error" for any survey and the use of these words should be avoided.

With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With a pure probability sample of 12,857 vehicle-owning adults one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/-1 percentage point. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Harris Interactive® Automotive & Transportation Research (ATR) Practice

The Harris Interactive ATR Practice, ( based in Rochester, New York and Detroit, Michigan, specializes in consumer-based and business-to-business- based market research for vehicle manufacturers, Tier 1-2-3 suppliers and automotive distribution firms. Additional information on the AutoTECHCAST study can be found at:

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is the 12th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world. The company provides research-driven insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what could conceivably be the world’s largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in France and through a global network of independent market research firms. The service bureau, HISB, provides its market research industry clients with mixed-mode data collection, panel development services as well as syndicated and tracking research consultation. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at

To become a member of the Harris Poll Online, visit


Last Updated ( 08 Sep 2006 )
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