Automotive infotainment heading for a change, study says

April 24, 2017 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Automotive infotainment heading for a change, study says
The acquisition of Harman through Samsung has changed the automotive infotainment market fundamentally: Suddenly the Korea combine leading this market, reveals a study from market watcher Semicast Research. The study sketches an image of an increasingly concentrated market: The top six suppliers account for about two-thirds of shipments; the top ten for more than 80%.

Semicast’s market study includes audio-only systems, front seat infotainment, rear seat entertainment and embedded navigation systems in the analysis. Only OE (factory-fitted) systems are included, with dealer-fit and aftermarket systems excluded. Audio-only systems continued to dominate in 2016, with 42 million units shipped, or just over half of the total.

With the acquisition of Harman, Samsung has taken the lead in the infotainment market.
Percentages are based on 2016 figures. Source: Semicast

The automotive entertainment systems market is at the early stages of substantial change, away from legacy CD/FM audio towards the video-based infotainment and navigation systems necessary for smartphone integration and high speed data connectivity. Semicast forecasts global sales of light vehicles with smartphone integration to rise to almost 95 million in 2023, from around one million in 2015, an annual growth rate of more than seventy percent. Colin Barnden, Principal Analyst at Semicast Research and study author commented “Alongside autonomous driving, driver assistance and electric powertrains, Semicast sees smartphone integration and vehicle connectivity as two of the most exciting changes coming to the automotive industry over the next decade.”


In March, Samsung completed the acquisition of Harman, in a cash deal worth USD 8 billion. Samsung is a major manufacturer of smartphones, but hitherto with no presence in the automotive entertainment systems market, was set to fall behind arch rivals Apple and Alphabet, just as smartphone technology was becoming adopted in the automotive environment.


Barnden summed up “For three years Apple and Alphabet have set the agenda for integrating smartphones with vehicle entertainment systems, in the form of Apple’s CarPlay and Alphabet’s Android Auto. In buying Harman, Samsung instantly becomes the market leader and Semicast sees this acquisition as a very smart move indeed.”


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