Connectivity solutions and in-car digital offerings, such as entertainment and advance hazard warnings, will play an increasingly important role in the future mobility experience. Many of these features are already in demand, and the market is growing. By 2030, core connectivity use cases, such as gaming and over-the-air upgrades, among others, could deliver $250 billion to $400 billion in annual incremental value for players across the mobility ecosystem.
Primed to enhance the car experience for drivers and passengers, OEMs and other mobility stakeholders want to understand consumer preferences and use cases for connectivity and digital services. The McKinsey Mobility Consumer Pulse Survey, which regularly asks mobility users about their perceptions and preferences for connectivity solutions and digital in-car offerings, may provide them with important, region-specific insights that can guide their next steps (see sidebar, “Survey details,” for more information about the methodology). This article reviews the most recent survey data (from December 2022), the need for smartphone integration, preferred services and payment options, data-privacy concerns, and regional trends.
A seamless smartphone interface sets the bar
In our survey, half of car owners say they want to use connectivity solutions and that in-car digital offers more in the future. Across locations, electric-vehicle (EV) buyers are most open to these services, with about 69 percent planning to increase their use of connectivity solutions, compared with 47 percent of buyers who intend to purchase traditional cars.
Across locations, EV buyers are most open to these services, with about 69 percent planning to increase their use of connectivity solutions, compared with 47 percent of buyers who intend to purchase traditional cars.
Despite this interest, the survey also reveals some areas for concern. Only 17 percent of all consumers say they are satisfied with their existing connectivity offers, which could potentially depress demand. These findings suggest that OEMs could benefit from continuing to refine their connectivity offerings and from identifying the features and services that consumers most value and use.
Many consumers immediately compare the built-in services that OEMs include in their vehicles to those available through their smartphones. This tendency is important, since most OEMs include smartphone projection interfaces, such as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, in their basic feature packages. When asked about system preferences, our survey revealed that:
- almost half of car buyers would not purchase a vehicle that lacked Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
- 45 percent of car owners who have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto use the service regularly; another 40 percent connect periodically
- 85 percent of car owners who have Apple CarPlay (or a similar service) prefer it over the OEM’s built-in system
Consumers’ perceptions of relevance and value vary by connectivity feature
Consumers consider driving-convenience features and productivity amenities, such as intelligent parking-spot finders, in-car payment, and vehicle Wi-Fi hot spots, to be among the most important connectivity and digital offerings. Regular usage—basically, how relevant these features are to a driver’s daily routine—appear to be linked to value ratings. If an in-car connectivity service is also standard on smartphones, consumers may be less willing to pay for it.
In our survey, 30 percent of respondents say that they find individualized connectivity features, such as in-car personal assistants, to be valuable.
In our survey, 30 percent of respondents say that they find individualized connectivity features, such as in-car personal assistants, to be valuable. At present, however, in-car entertainment use cases and gaming solutions only attract a small subset of customers, and these services received mediocre value ratings in our survey (Exhibit 1). The expected growth of autonomous cars, which would allow drivers to take their attention from the road, could widen the appeal of in-car gaming and entertainment. The growth of EVs could have a similar effect, since it would increase the amount of idle time that people spend in cars as their vehicles are charged. Current EV owners, who are already spending time at charging stations, are twice as likely as traditional car owners to consider entertainment and gaming offers to be valuable.