Smartphone car app sales to speed up through 2020

Are drivers ready for cars to take the wheel?

Toronto, ON (Feb. 2, 2015) – Are fears about self-driving cars subsiding as more emerge? Based on November 2014 GfK polling, the answer is yes. Two-thirds of consumers with drivers licenses polled worldwide said self-driving cars were appealing.

Internet users* worldwide** who find self-driving cars appealing, by age (Nov 2014)

Older millennials, 25- to 34-year-olds, were most interested in self-driving cars, with nearly three-quarters finding the concept appealing. Still impressive, over seven in 10 from the 16-to-24 and 35-to-44 age groups viewed self-driving cars appealing, as did almost two-thirds of 44-to-54-year-old licensed drivers and even half of 55- to 64-year-olds. The 65-and-older group was the only bracket where the majority weren’t interested.

Respondents from mature markets showed a stronger association than those from developing countries with feeling “powerless” and “anxious” about self-drive vehicles. When putting together content, marketers and advertisers should take note that consumers in advanced markets want to feel in control when self-driving.

Smartphone in-car app sales worldwide, iOS vs Android

Self-driving cars may be an extreme technological advancement in the automotive industry at the moment, but consumers are still working on adopting other, smaller, innovations in the auto space that bridge the gap between digital and physical. In-car smartphone apps such as Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto are one example, according to data released in January 2015 by IHS. These can be integrated with a vehicle’s human-machine interface – dashboards are a big example – allowing smartphone users to put their phones down when driving.

While the user base is small at the moment, IHS expected the smartphone car app market to explode in the coming years. The research firm forecast that Apple CarPlay for iPhones would surge 2,550% worldwide between 2015 and 2020, from 1.4 million units sold to 37.1 million. The future for Google’s Android Auto app is just as exciting, if not more. Sales were estimated to skyrocket from 1.1 million to 39.9 million during the same timeframe, an increase of more than 3,527%.

One overarching theme among GfK’s and IHS’s respondents was safety, seen as the greatest advantage to such technologies. As the auto world moves to a connected future, car brands and ads should take a safety-first approach.

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SOURCE: eMarketer