Premium car owners want Wi-Fi but like public Wi-Fi hotspots

Wi-Fi hotspots is car is very “hot” topic. Chevy, recently, launched unlimited Wi-Fi hotspot data for $20 a month. Ford will be offering Wi-Fi hotspots and Toyota will also be offering Wi-Fi hotspots.

A new survey from the In-Vehicle UX (IVX) group at Strategy Analytics, titled “Consumer Interest and Willingness to Pay for In-Vehicle Wi-Fi” assesses consumer interest in and willingness to pay for in-car Wi-Fi. Consumer interest in in-vehicle Wi-Fi was high across all regions, with increased interest amongst premium vehicle owners and those under 45 years of age. However, willingness to pay was not apparent in the US and Europe, though China may remain an opportunity.

Surveying consumers in the US, Europe and China, Strategy Analytics has found that while turning a car into a Wi-Fi hotspot sounds attractive to consumers on the surface, it is unlikely to meet expectations, especially in US and Europe. Initial consumer impressions were found to liken in-vehicle Wi-Fi to a public hotspot, allowing access to unlimited data at no cost. In reality of course, in-vehicle Wi-Fi is different, with OEMs wanting to charge consumers for data used.

Chris Schreiner, Director of Syndicated Research, UXIP commented, “Consumers are already paying for data access on their smartphones, so the value proposition for in-vehicle Wi-Fi needs to be better than what they would get by simply continuing to use their smartphones in the car and potentially increasing data limits with their carrier.”

Continued Schreiner, “Consumers’ understanding of how much data is used for typical in-vehicle services also impacts the value proposition. Lower GB limits may not meet the needs of in-car usage for features such as rear-seat entertainment or daily streaming audio.”

Kevin Nolan, Vice President, UXIP added, “In-vehicle Wi-Fi faces challenges in the US and Europe with savvy consumers understanding that current packages pushed by OEMs are actually of no benefit to them. Consumers in China, however, are much more keen on in-vehicle connectivity and the appeal of turning their car into a Wi-Fi hotspot could result in greater opportunities for adoption in that region.”