I absolutely don't think better image quality is the key to survival - since so few people seem to know or care what that is (assuming is can be objectively discussed at all). I see people very happy with shots I find execrable - they care about the content more than the dynamic range, sharpness, composition or whatever.
Gear nerds will wish for better IQ and DR. Casual users won'y, and that is the vast majority of the entry level market. DR really only makes a difference for post processing - and yeah, how many causal users actually do any post processing? If they do, are they shooting in RAW? I'd dare say that most entry level users are shooting in jpeg, have 1 memory card that never leaves the camera. Connectivity will be the thing that breathes life into the market. I'd look for wifi, and simple file sharing (either through better phone to camera action, or direct from camera!) to be in rebels. dual Pixel will trickle both up and down - and IQ and DR will follow, but in a trickle down manner. New sensors aren't being made directly for rebels, the new tech will be in the pro bodies first. We may see some of that in the 7d2. But any of this tech is most liekly being designed with FF sensors in mind first!
Either way, I know we geeks would love to think that everyone values the same stuff as we do, but in reality - we geeks are the minority.
Even when it comes to pro shooting - like weddings - how many times are the crisp, post shot gets overlooked by the client in favor of a slightly out of focus/ overexposed/ poorly composed candid of the bride and groom laughing, or a hug...sometimes emotion trumps IQ and technical correctness!