Car ownership is still important to most Americans, and connectivity as a product feature is growing in importance as a purchase intent factor, according to a new study from agency MRY. But the study also indicated that no single car manufacturer leads the field when it comes to connectivity.
According to the study, which surveyed 2,000 licensed adults, 91% said that owning a car is still an important part of their day-to-day activity. That number falls slightly for Millennials — to 87% — although the study reports that access to a car via car-sharing services (for that group in particular) is considered synonymous with ownership.
In addition to a survey, the study monitored over 60 million social media conversations about connectivity in cars. No single automaker generated 50% or greater positive sentiment in conversations where they were mentioned. Jeep achieved a little more than 40% positive sentiment and Hyundai wasn’t far behind with just under 40%. Mercedes-Benz showed the lowest positive sentiment at about 7%, while Dodge fared just slightly better at 9%.
“Automotive brands need to focus more of their brand messaging around their connectivity features,” the study concludes. A small shift in consumer perceptions about auto brands can have a multibillion-dollar impact on sales. “Because conversation around connected cars has increased by roughly 15% in 2013 versus 2012, this puts additional urgency on brands needing to spread their messaging and drive perception within the increasingly younger audience that their cars are more connected than their competitors.”
In addition to improving car driving experiences, such as access to food and services, improved connectivity by auto makers “has the potential to solve some of the problems that have plagued drivers, such as traffic accidents, traffic and general safety on the road,” per the study.
The survey portion of the study was conducted by Whitman Insight Strategies in January of this year and included 500 people aged 18-34 and 500 people ages 35-plus, split equally among men and women with regional quotas set to match the U.S. Census. The social listening portion of study evaluated full-year 2012 and 2013 conversations around automotive connectivity using a Boolean filtering framework in conjunction with Mashwork.