Drivers want free or ad-supported connected car Internet & Wi-Fi hotspots

importanceinvehiclebuyingdecisionConsumers have strong interest in access to the Internet and connected services that make driving and parking easier notes a Strategy Analytics Report. The report from In-vehicle UX group at Strategy Analytics of consumers in the US, Western Europe, and China looked at interest in and ways to pay for in-vehicle connectivity and connected services.

Although there is a high level of consumer interest does not always translate to a willingness to pay for it. Most consumers are unwilling to pay for in-vehicle connectivity by the month or per-use that automakers have implemented.

“When consumers have services such as maps on their smartphones that work well enough, then they don’t want to pay for in-vehicle Internet data connections,” said Derek Viita, Senior Analyst User Experience Practice at Strategy Analytics.

Consumers are interested in services which provided drive-relevant information with access to in-vehicle connectivity playing an increasingly important role in the purchase decision of a vehicle, across all demographics. However, interest in some popular payment models for connectivity has fallen over the past year.

Free models for connectivity remain highly desirable across all regions and age groups. Interest in connectivity supported by in-vehicle advertising rose over the past year. Interest in paying extra at purchase to make the car a Wi-Fi hotspot remains high, especially among 18-24 year olds. The car as a device in a shared mobile data plan remains popular as well, though consumer interest in the mobile-share model has fallen in the US and Europe.

Consumer preference for the “lump sum” payment model has fallen since 2014 across all regions. This indicates that among consumers who are open to the idea of paying for connectivity, most are cooling to the idea of paying a large amount up-front for it.

While interest is especially high for services which provide traffic updates, weather updates, open parking spaces, and navigation instructions, interest in social media functionality remains low.

The report suggests that automakers and wireless carriers should find a payment model that consumers will agree to. While interest is healthy for many connectivity models involving one-time or regular payments, a large portion of consumers still favor free connectivity, and that portion appears to be slowly growing. This can only lead to an uphill battle for consumer acceptance of any payment model notes the report.

The In-vehicle UX group forms part of the User Experience Innovation Practice (UXIP) at Strategy Analytics. Focusing on user behaviors, motivations and interests within in-vehicle, mobile device, connected home and media & services research areas. More information about report.