A majority of Gen Z (75%) view their vehicle as a “third space,” according to a report from DTS, Inc., a subsidiary of Xperi.
“The Vehicle as a Third Space” discusses the increasing importance of the vehicle as a third space, as well as uncovers drivers' preferred in-cabin features and functionality.
A third space is defined as a place outside of home (first space) and work (second space), where consumers go to relax, enjoy hobbies and escape the stresses of work -- like a coffee shop, library, park or vehicle.
Based on results from a national consumer Caravan survey conducted by Big Village, the report finds that 75% of Gen Z drivers (ages 18 to 25 years), and 49% of drivers overall, are more likely to view their vehicle as a third space today, compared to pre-COVID.
“Automotive has conquered the vehicle exterior, but the next evolution is all about solving the vehicle interior, especially its role as a third space,” Jeff Jury, Xperi senior vice president and general manager, connected car, says in a release. “This demands technology that can merge safety with a vehicle cockpit that meets their entertainment, comfort, personalization and wellness needs. It is the future of the connected car industry.”
Using their vehicle as a third space is the top reason drivers say their personal vehicle is more important today (52%), followed by discomfort with public transportation or ride-sharing (48%), and the vehicle’s ability to offer a place of refuge (41%) during these challenging times.
Drivers want increased safety and peace of mind (82%) design choices in their vehicle, followed by comfort (80%), and audio/radio entertainment (79%). Convenience, personalization and health features also rank highly.
A majority (69%) say advanced personalization (vehicle “knows” you and your occupants, and can adjust/personalize music choices, lighting, temperature, etc.) is important in enhancing the third space experience. One in four would like a radio in-dash experience that is more robust, immersive, visual and informative.
Almost all (91%) of Gen Z and Millennial drivers are interested in responsive mood-sensing technologies such as a sound bath or music activated by sensed state of mind, while 67% of respondents are interested in vehicle sensors that can assess health and illness — from heart rate to respiratory rate to facial changes.
And film/TV streaming, lighting, aromatherapy, and interactive video games are a top three feature of interest for at least one in four respondents.
Among those who do not think of their vehicle as a third space, nearly one in three would if it was completely self-driving.
The Caravan survey was conducted online in third quarter 2022 by Big Village and included 844 U.S. adults who currently own or lease a vehicle.