Web Insight 140xxx: entertainment while driving

The Recording Industry Association of America reported that in 2019, sales of vinyl records topped those of CDs for the first time in 33 years.

But the CD is far from dead. Consider its use in the car.

In the Center’s Future of Transportation Study, we asked respondents about their preferred forms of entertainment while driving. Overall, 46% cited CDs. It was only topped by FM radio, which was mentioned by 76% (respondents could cite multiple forms).

Nevertheless, the biggest factor differentiating those who chose CDs from those who did not was age, which might suggest that over time the CD will become a relic in the car as well.

Older people were more likely to cite CDs. Fifty-two percent of those aged 65 and above and 51% of those aged 55-64 chose CDs. This form of entertainment was cited by 44 percent of those aged 45 to 54 and 47% of those in the 35 to 44 cohort. Compact disks were mentioned by 40% of those aged 25 to 34, but only 34% of the 18 to 24 set. But surprisingly, 48% of those aged 14 to 17 gave CDs as an answer.

In general, those older were more likely to include CDs in their list of preferred sorts of entertainment while driving in the car, but the relationship between age and selecting CDs was not a linear one.

Will use of CDs in cars diminish and die out over the years? Time will tell.


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April 13, 2020