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Fast connectivity ‘must-have’ for rear-seat entertainment

Findings from a survey from the In-Vehicle UX (IVX) group at advisory firm Strategy Analytics assessing consumer interest in and willingness to pay for rear-seat entertainment systems suggest that interest in such systems is robust among younger and middle age groups, but lower across all other demographics. Preferences for video streaming or tablet docking solutions are apparent, while the percentage of consumers willing to pay for rear-seat entertainment systems is modest and relatively flat.

Surveying consumers in the US, the UK and China, Strategy Analytics has found that interest in rear-seat entertainment systems is strong across all regions, but only among 25-34 and 35-44 year olds. The percentage of consumers willing to pay for rear-seat entertainment systems is modest among consumers in the US regardless of price point, but this percentage dips slightly at higher price points in Europe. However, of those interested in rear-seat entertainment, tablet docking stations and streaming video are often the most preferred method of delivery; and this has important implications regarding the type of Internet connection necessary in future car models.

According to Derek Viita, Senior Analyst and report author, connectivity is playing an increasingly important role in consumers’ purchase decision, though large swaths of consumers are unwilling to pay a premium or a subscription for that connectivity. “OEMs must consider the inclusion of reliable and fast on-board connectivity a ‘must-have’ in future models for a variety of reasons, and the increased usage of streaming media for rear-seat entertainment is certainly one of them.”

“Providing options for streaming video would be a driver for adoption of in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot solutions. However, much of this adoption would come from a misunderstanding of the capabilities of in-vehicle Wi-Fi and the cost and data limits imposed on the consumer. When consumers generally hear ‘Wi-Fi’ or ‘Wi-Fi’ hotspot they envision either public Wi-Fi or at home Wi-Fi without data limits. Unfortunately, within the car this is not the case,” he suggested.

“In the US, current Wi-Fi options (e.g. through OnStar) are more costly than having the consumer increase their data limit through their wireless carrier,” added Chris Schreiner, Director IVX. “Furthermore, data limits on in-vehicle Wi-Fi would not support consistent usage of streaming video, as only a few hours of usage per month would use up all allotted data. OEMs need to better align in-vehicle Wi-Fi options with likely usage patterns in order to take advantage of this consumer preference toward streaming video content.”

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