3 CTA Recommendations for the Car Audio Industry

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The Consumer Technology Association, (CTA), formerly the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has 3 recommendations for the car audio industry, as car audio shops try to make the shift to becoming “car tech” shops, that are a destination for the installation of more than just amplifiers, radios and speakers.

The CTA’s Steve Koenig offered these suggestions (reworded by us) based on CTA’s research on consumer buying habits for infotainment and advanced safety products including blind spot monitoring and backup cameras.


Recommendation #1 – Sharpen Product Marketing Focus on Women (yes we know this will shut down your brain but please read anyway)

Traditional 12 volt marketing is all about men, but when it comes to new driver safety products for the car, it’s the woman that may be the purchaser-in-chief.

According to CTA findings, women are far more likely to be interested in a car for its safety features than men.   So boosting awareness by women of the category is a big step towards better sales.


 Recommendation #2 – Ease-of-Use Should Guide Product Development 

This is for suppliers and retailers.  The CTA study found that many consumer problems with car safety and infotainment comes from “awkward installations, ease-of-use issues or the device not meeting expectations.”   It cautions that simplicity can be as important as great features.  For that reason, the CTA concludes  “Depending on the solution, the option to integrate with existing consumer technologies (e.g., smartphones, smartwatches) through apps may make sense as opposed to separate controllers, dongles, etc.”


Recommendation #3 – Consider Bundling Device, Installation Costs in Single Solution Price

The CTA said, “A key finding of the research reveals consumers have held-off on the purchase of aftermarket in-vehicle technologies due to the cost of the device or the cost of installation. Bundling installation service with a device could help overcome these objections by presenting a single ‘installed’ price. While many 12-volt retailers already do this, manufacturers may wish to employ this approach as well with a trusted network of installer partners. A single solution price meets consumers’ needs for convenience and value.”


The CTA study  found that only 10 percent would think of a car stereo shop for an installation of a car tech product (15 percent  would go to a Best Buy type store and 41 percent would prefer to go to a car dealer).

Consumers, however, are generally satisfied with their aftermarket installations. Only two percent of consumers are dissatisfied with aftermarket Bluetooth installations.

Fifty four percent said their installation of a Bluetooth device in the car met expectations and 44 percent said it exceeded expectations.

Also 23 percent of adults who don’t own Bluetooth technology are interested in an aftermarket installation. Cost is the biggest obstacle to the purchase, the CTA found.

Photo: Display at Car Toys



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  1. I would focus on better training ACROSS the board. Its great to have beautiful showrooms and spotless bathrooms. But a well trained staff with great communication skills is hard to come by these days. Not saying it doesnt exist, but it is few and far between.

  2. Thanks, CTA, but that’s not any recipe for saving the car AUDIO industry. Rather, it is a strategy for shifting focus away from audio products to other vehicle technologies. Selling a Bluetooth device, or a back-up camera, should be a gateway for consumers to discover how an audio upgrade can be expertly done in their vehicles. There are plenty of audio customers if we present it in an exciting way and install it correctly.

  3. GOOD INFORMATION for sure. ..

    MOST IMPORTANT OPPORTUNITY: In paragraph 8 the CTA Study observes that only 10% of consumers even think about a “car stereo shop” for a tech purchase/installation. BUT 41% would prefer to go to a new car dealer. WHY? If that is your question, GO SIT IN THE SERVICE AND PARTS SECTION OF A HIGHER END (Cadillac, BMW, Volvo, MBZ…) NEW CAR DEALER. Then compare that feeling to your consumer will experience in your “car stereo shop”.

    Other Observations:

    ONE: At least be women friendly (colors in the store, language, store cleanliness, lighting and merchandising) if not women focused.

    TWO: On product development we gotta make sure to influence (tell them, don’t COMPLAIN to them) the manufacturers. The installing specialty retailer generally knows what the consumer will appreciate.

    THREE: Price bundle product & installation. I sense that many of the installing specialty retailers already do this, alarms and remote starters come to mind. This must be accompanied by an improved ability to “upsell” without offending the consumer.

    This is an article that you should read at least twice, then print it out and put it in a place where your be likely to read it again & again…

    Ray Windsor

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