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Crunching the numbers on the connected car
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Crunching the numbers on the connected car 

But a new report shows that, thanks to the nearly unstoppable growth of the smartphone market, Captain Ahab may finally have his day – or connected car, in this case.

The research, which was conducted by IHS Automotive, looked at 4,000 vehicle owners in the U.S., China, Germany and the UK who were looking to buy a car in the next 36 months.

“Among new car intenders, nearly 90 per cent of those surveyed currently own a smartphone,” said Colin Bird, senior analyst of automotive software at IHS Automotive. “Not surprisingly, these devices have wide implications for consumer behaviour while driving and influence consumer expectations on how vehicles and apps should integrate with them.”

Given that there are currently nearly 2.7 billion smartphones users and there will be more than 5.5 billion by 2018, it would appear that more and more consumers expect their car to communicate with their phones and will no longer view that feature as an added perk to their purchase.

So, let’s delve into these numbers and see what they say about how we currently use the connected car.

In the coming years, IHS expects significant growth by vehicle manufacturers to integrate apps into their vehicles in order to increase consumer connectivity.

Nearly 45 per cent of respondents said they would use in-vehicle apps if it helped enhance the driving experience. In addition, nearly 75 per cent of respondents indicated they would also be willing to pay for updates to an app.

In 2014, approximately 132 billion mobile apps were downloaded worldwide, according to IHS. Approximately 90 per cent of the revenue from these apps is generated through in-app purchases or subscriptions, while the remaining 10 percent is attributed to consumers who bought apps for personal, social or business use.

Though price points for apps varied by region, most respondents reported having spent an average of $12 to $22 U.S. on their most expensive app. These findings represent the ongoing need for continued development and identify significant revenue opportunity for developers in the future.

The five categories that consumers identified as favourite apps for use in their vehicles were weather, music, news and social networking.

The least used apps in the vehicle include points of interest apps, book apps, health and fitness apps, business/productivity apps as well as education and podcast apps, all of which had less than 15 per cent use rates among respondents.

In the music department, nearly 70 per cent of consumers surveyed indicated a strong desire for continued listening of music via AM/FM radio and CDs in their vehicle. However, a similar number of respondents prefer listening to music stored on their mobile devices, and streaming or satellite radio.

This is a lot for developers and car companies to think about as they make decisions about the cars of the future. The company that gets it right, however, will be landing a whale of a prize for themselves.

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