Tech is everywhere these days: In our pockets, our living rooms and even on the highways. Today, about one in five drivers aware of connected cars is already driving a high-tech vehicle. And as car manufacturers continue to introduce new tech at showcases like the recent International Consumer Electronics and Detroit Auto Shows, that number is bound to increase. In fact, a new Nielsen report shows how today’s car buyers are becoming just as interested in gigabytes and touchscreens as they are in horsepower and transmissions.
So who’s already behind the wheel in connected cars? The majority are men (58%), 62 percent of them identify themselves as early adopters, and overall, most live in the suburbs. Nine out of 10 connected car owners say they drive every day, and the majority (52%) spends more than an hour in their vehicles each day. In contrast, those who don’t yet own connected cars but said they’re interested in the tech spend less time in their cars, as only 37 percent spend more than an hour driving each day.
Connected cars offer a wide range of features that attract car buyers, providing everything from navigation to safety to entertainment for drivers. In fact, 63 percent of connected car drivers said they looked for built-in features during the car-buying process. Among those who purchased connected cars, the features drivers said were important included Internet-enabled navigation (79%), safety alerts (76%), vehicle diagnostics (74%), and entertainment connectivity such as voice controls for communications and streaming audio (80%).
As awareness of connected cars grows, so will consumers’ interest in high-tech vehicles. So who will get behind the wheel next? Among those who don’t yet own a connected car but has a high-interest level, 46 percent said they intend to buy a new car within the next two years, providing a big incentive for auto manufacturers to promote their connected car offerings. And when this new group of connected car buyers is looking for advice, they can always turn to their friends who are already driving them, as two-thirds say they’d recommend the technology to their friends and family.