Connected Cars Are on the Rise

Who’s most attracted to the wired, connected car? The answer may surprise you. Hint: he might have been rocking out at Woodstock back in the day.

Whether it’s a feature as straightforward as streaming audio or a car interior that’s a wired hotspot, connected car systems are here. And the biggest users are not Gen Y, those never-offline lovers of tech, but male Baby Boomers, a Nielsen survey says.

Of the 44% of the potential buyers contemplating a new auto purchase within the next two years, a majority (39%) are very likely to buy a connected car with built-in features. Three out of five potential buyers want a connected car so they can “experience emerging technologies.” More than half (58%) feel it will provide entertainment to passengers, and 43% say it will boost productivity while they’re on the road.

Most connected car users (58%) are men, the survey finds. More than four in 10 of this male population (42%) are 55 or older. Many have at least one college degree (62%), and 37% make more than $100,000 per year.

Safety is among highest-ranking features buyers look for in a connected car. Among potential buyers, 79% believe a vehicle’s safety features will make them feel safer while on the road. Users of connected car technologies also value crash notifications (64% rank this “very important”), Internet-enabled navigation (58%) and safety alerts (51%).

Drivers use connectivity for entertainment about one-third of the time, with about a third (36%) of connected car users streaming audio every time they were in their car. More than one in four (26%) connect to the Internet every time they’re in their car, and 41% say they connect “regularly.” More than one in five (21%) use connectivity to download media every time they’re in their car, and more than one in four (27%) do so regularly.

Among other findings:

  • More than a third (37%) of connected car users spend 30 minutes to an hour in their cars regularly;
  • Nearly a fourth of all music listening each week takes place behind the wheel, according to Nielsen’s latest Music 360 report; and
  • Forty-six percent of connected car users use driving analytics and 41% use wireless hotspots every time they’re on the road.