Will Internet Radio & Apps Save the Aftermarket?

share on:

“Will Internet Radio & Apps Save the Aftermarket?”  is the headline in part of a report released earlier this year from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

It notes that while aftermarket autosound has been challenged, there are some bright spots in the category including “strong and sustained sales” of app-enabled head units. These higher tech radios that often include Internet Radio are  “generating excitement.”

Due to apps and Internet Radio  sales of head units will ward off declines through 2014, remaining steady.  But head units sales are expected to decline starting in 2015.

CEA’s Steve Koenig explained that while apps and Internet Radio will boost sales for a while, just as did satellite radio, iPod control and Bluetooth, the aftermarket is still up against increasingly high tech radios in new cars and “vehicle OEMs are largely leading innovation in car tech these days which is a big shift from the past.”

A big question for the aftermarket is how quickly suppliers can integrate these innovations into their product lines, particularly in lower end products, said the report issued to CEA members in January ( which we  just obtained).

CEA forecasts that overall aftermarket autosound sales to dealers will be up very slightly this year to $1,143 million, from an estimated $1,141 million in 2012.  By contrast OEM radios or factory installed systems are projected to grow about 16 percent to $9,150 million this year from an estimated $7,850 million last year.

CEA 3-13 chart AMCEA 3-13 chart OEM

Source: CEA

Aftermarket Autosound Equipment  includes satellite radio receivers.

Factory Installed Auto Equipment includes all head units, amplifiers, navigation systems, and rear seat entertainment products installed into new vehicles at the factory.

Want to receive industry news? Sign up here
share on:


  1. In 1982 I was informed by people who were a loy smarter than me that the aftermarket would be dead and gone by 1989. For sure we have challenges facing the aftermarket… economy, better OEM, fewer products unique to the aftermarket, more informed consumers, hard to find quality sales staff and installers, supplier practices that discourage the aftermarket retailers, etc… etc…

    Some of these challenges are outside of our control. Some of these challenges are self imposed.

    We should read and indeed learn from articles that speak intelligently about our business. We should also keep in mind that the aftermarket has received “last rights” a few times over the years. I am reminded of a notable character who informed us…”the rumors of my death are premature” or some similar words.

    Be aware. Stay informed. Strive to be better than the last time and/or next guy. Deliver a superior experience.

    Ray Windsor
    German Maestro

  2. Why the focus on head units and the suggestion that if aftermarket head units go away, the entire industry goes away? I believe there’s a big shift underway with OE autosound–a shift away from pitching premium audio (in all but the most premium of automobiles) and toward pitching connectivity. That will probably leave a great opportunity in the aftermarket for premium audio upgrades. The industry is going to have to get better at providing good sounding upgrades, though. A 100-dollar pair of coaxials and a bass tube isn’t going to cut it.

Comments are closed.