In the second half of 2020, over 80% of new cars in key European markets came with DAB+ radio as standard, a “dramatic increase on the same period in 2019”, according to WorldDAB’s latest market report, published today to coincide with the organisation’s annual automotive conference.

“This step-change reflects the impact of the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC), which, from December 2020, requires all new car radios in the EU to be capable of receiving digital terrestrial radio,” the organisation said in a statement.

Patrick Hannon, president of WorldDAB, said: “These results demonstrate that DAB+ is firmly established as the core future platform for radio in Europe. The recent progress in Germany, France, Italy and Benelux has been particularly impressive and reflects the high levels of co-operation between players across the radio ecosystem. Looking forward, our goal is to ensure that the key benefits of broadcast radio, being free-to-air, independent of gatekeepers and reliable in emergencies remain at the heart of listeners’ automotive audio experience.”

The report also highlighted that, by the end of Q4 2020, nearly 100m consumer and automotive DAB/DAB+ receivers had been sold in Europe and Asia Pacific, up from 92m six months earlier.

The expanded DAB+ fitment in cars is also due to expansion of the broadcast technology in key markets such as Germany, France and Switzerland where FM will be switched off in 2022-2023.

The EECC requires all new car radios in the EU to be capable of receiving digital terrestrial radio. UK, Switzerland and Norway have 97-100% DAB+ as standard, and in Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany over 80% of new cars sold have DAB+ fitted as standard. In Australia, 77% of new cars sold now have DAB+ fitted as standard (up from 60% in 2018).

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The growth in receiver sales has also been driven by market forces. France will launch national DAB+ services in October 2021, Germany launched a second national DAB+ multiplex for commercial radio in October 2020 and DAB listening has overtaken FM for the first time in the UK.

Several EU countries, including Germany, France, United Kingdom and Italy, have already introduced regulations to implement the EECC directive into national legislation, while other countries, including The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Greece, Czech Republic, Poland, Spain, Slovakia and Malta, have begun procedures to implement the EECC into national legislation.

Other highlights from the report:

  • In France, 82% of new cars were sold with DAB+ as standard in H2 2020 compared to 38% in H2 2019
  • In Germany, 80% of new cars were sold with DAB+ as standard in H2 2020 compared to 22% in H2 2019
  • In Switzerland, 73% of all radio listening is via digital platforms, and 41% of all listening is on DAB+. Switzerland has confirmed FM will be switched off by January 2023
  • Nearly 47 million receivers have been shipped in the UK, with 67% of households having at least one DAB receiver
  • In Italy, sales of consumer DAB+ receivers more than doubled in 2020 (up 126%) following the introduction of rules requiring all receivers to have DAB+ from 1st January 2020

The report covered Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the UK.