D- Shifting gears, let’s talk about the industry as a whole, In today’s market, what does the typical customer look like?
E- Typical customer is anywhere from 18 to 40. They usually have a car that’s a few years older that may not have an auxiliary jack or Bluetooth. I get a lot of middle aged guys around my age that now have a good job, they have money and they never got that system in high school or college.
D- How has that changed from when you started in the business?
E- When I started, pretty much every kid had to have something. Not so much anymore. What keeps us afloat, keeps us steady is new cars. Vehicles that don’t come with remote start, backup cameras or backup sensors. That’s the steady stream.
D- What is the current trend in the market?
E- Right now, Apple Carplay, Android Auto. That’s the big thing now. Some of the newer cars are starting to come with them as an option. But that’s something the aftermarket world has driven. So that’s defiantly a big one.
D- How the market changed in the past couple decades?
E- You went from starting with your head unit. So to speak, front to back. Start with the front of the car and end up in the back with your sobs and amps. A lot of newer vehicles, its not worth changing out the factory radio. You may already have factory navigation, factory Android Auto or CarPlay, or the AC controls my be built into the radio. So its just not worth it to change it out. So its more of a trunk forward design.
D- Lets say your average high school aged kid comes in. What is it they are looking for?
E- Usually someway to have their phone or their mobile device play their music. Whether is aux jack or Bluetooth. I’d say the Bluetooth is probably number 1.
D- What about an adult, your middle aged guy. What is their typical request?
E- If they have kids, usually a video system or something like that. If it’s for their personal vehicle, it usually to upgrade sources to Android Auto, Car Play. Maybe a backup camera.
D- Since Apple Car Play and Android Auto are pretty standard in new vehicles, how has that changed the in-vehicle entertainment experience?
E- Its driven a higher demand for those features and manufactures are starting to realize that.
D- What are some other technologies that are commonplace now that didn’t exist when you started?
E- Auxillery jacks. Being able to plug in your phone.
D- Has that made things easier, harder or just different?
E- Just different. Nobody carries a case of CDs around anymore. Everythings on your phone.
D- To sum things up, where do you see the mobile electronics industry as a whole going?
E- Its not gonna go away. There is always gonna be somebody building that custom car. That has to have the layers and greatest. There has always been something that comes along that saved it. In the early 2000s, the iPod saved it because none of these cars were able to play your iPod in them. We had to evolve to where you could do that. There is always going to be room for improvement.
As tastes and trends change, so must the industries that serve them and the mobile electronics industry is no different. Even if you are content with the stereo your vehicle came with, take a spin into your local stereo shop and see whats out there. Just be careful, you might get bit.