Automotive Rear Seat Infotainment Market: Redefine Affordable Luxury

In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) is an emerging technology in the field of automobile manufacturing industry. IVI integrates entertainment, multimedia and driver assisting technologies in a single module. As the technology across the automotive sector is getting advanced, more and more new technologies and devices are getting integrated into the overall in-vehicle infotainment system with all the infotainment electronic control units (ECUs) networked in the automotive platform.

There has been a growing need for an in-vehicle infotainment system in vehicles owing to the advantages it offers over other similar technologies like stereo systems, LCD televisions, Global Positioning System (GPS), etc. The modules that are integrated into an in-vehicle infotainment system- rear seat entertainment, external connectivity, connectivity to mobile devices, advanced driver assistance systems, and security systems have been in great demand among automotive manufacturers. Rear seat infotainment can be divided into two sub modules- the audio system and the video system. The basic components of an audio system includes speakers, subwoofers, and amplifiers. The car is also equipped with an exclusive multimedia system with TV screens.

As the disposable income of people is rising, they are becoming more and more interested to purchase cars with advanced features already being installed or upgrading their cars by adding these features on their own. As such, the demand for rear-seat infotainment systems in the global automotive sector is rising which is fueling the market growth of automotive rear seat infotainment. Some of the global auto giants like Audi, BMW, and Land Rover among others provide these rear-seat infotainment systems in their higher-end models pre-fitted for people who are interested to buy these vehicles.

automotive rear-seat infotainment market

Initially, automotive devices were integrated using the Controller Area Network (CAN) technology. However, due to the slow speed of data transfer in Controller Area Network (CAN), a new technology named as MOST (Media Oriented System Transport) was introduced in which the data is transferred optically. With advancement in technologies, more and more applications including multi-media player, navigation system, iPOD, USB Memory, SD Card, and instrument cluster have been integrated into the MOST system. The MOST technology allows automobile manufacturers to connect the rear seat infotainment system to the front seat infotainment system such that the rear-seat display is able to command the head unit in the front seat via buttons or touchscreens MOST also reduces the need for individual processors, thereby boosting the system’s flexibility while also reducing the overall cost. Leading auto brands such as BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen have already adopted MOST technology in their premium cars.

However, in-vehicle entertainment is no longer limited to these premium or luxury cars. As the demand for telematics and built-in connectivity in automobiles is booming, auto manufacturers are introducing infotainment systems in mass-produced mid-segment vehicles as well. Automakers like Volkswagen, Ford, and General Motors are collaborating with software providers and in-vehicle entertainment and information systems manufacturers to provide infotainment solutions in their mid-range vehicles. Moreover, rear seat infotainment system as well as software providers are also expanding their reach in this growing market. For instance, in October 2019, South Korean electronics giant LG Electronics and U.S. chipmaker, Qualcomm announced their strategic partnership to develop an in-vehicle infotainment platform called webOS Auto for connected cars, delivering entertainment and information to both driver and passengers. This platform is designed for connected cars with internet access for vehicle management and other safety features. Vizualogic has recently announced to expand its award-winning rear seat infotainment system by introducing OMNI 8 Rear Seat Infotainment system to the aftermarket and expeditor market.

Rising investments in connected and autonomous cars will continue to drive the growth of automotive rear seat infotainment market. From DENSO to Daimler, automakers and suppliers alike are constantly engaged in tapping startups to ramp up their capabilities in the connected car space.  The relevance of connected cars is only bound to increase with the expected wide-scale adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) where connectivity is one of the major focus points of automakers. The figure below shows the global electric car stock for the period 2010-2019:

Global Electric Car Stock, From 2010 to 2019, in Million Units

automotive rear-seat infotainment market

Source: IEA (International Energy Agency)Top of FormBottom of Form

Declining Global Automotive Sector

The global automotive industry has been facing a sharp decline, both in production and sales volume, in the past few years. The figure given below shows the trends in worldwide passenger car sales from 2017 to 2019:

Global Passenger Car Sales Volume, in Million Units, 2015 to 2019

automotive rear-seat infotainment market

Source: OICA (International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers)

As shown in the above figure, the sales volume of passenger car globally has been witnessing a continuous decline since 2017. This shrinking of sales numbers is attributed to certain factors such as poor quality roads, heavy traffic congestion, limited parking lot availability, continuous decline in resale value of cars, and expensive vehicle ownership. Growing trend towards ride-hailing services is considered to be one of the prime factors for this decline in the passenger car sales volume.  The recent pandemic outbreak caused by the spread of coronavirus have also severely impacted the overall health of the automotive sector. On one hand, the demand for automobiles become flat due to the decline in global economic activities while on the other hand, the temporary shutdown of automobile factories due to mandatory lockdown and social distancing measures along with global supply chain disruption has further affected this industry. With automotive production as well as sales being flattened, these factors will also inhibit the market growth of automotive rear seat infotainment in the short and medium term.    


Anjali Joshi is a senior market research analyst at Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence. She oversees a team of analysts and is known for the quality of market intelligence she delivers to the clients which range from start-ups and Non-profit Organizations to Fortune 500 companies. Anjali’s keen understanding of international business and market dynamics, coupled with her years of experience working in this industry, allows her to analyse current and future trends across both global and clients’ target markets and help them in making informed decisions.