KEY POINTS

  • Consumer demand for in-car technology has increased significantly over the past year. As a result, we've raised our connected car active user forecast from 88 million to 115 million in 2020. Overall, in-car entertainment features provided by the car’s infotainment center, comprising a Wi-Fi hotspot, applications, and more, will generate $15 billion in sales in 2021, up from $7 billion in 2016.
  • Several factors are driving increased demand. These include consumer expectations of always-on connectivity, greater awareness of connected car offerings, and governmental restrictions on using mobile phones while driving (which push consumers to hands-free modes of communication).
  • AT&T, the largest US in-car connectivity provider, has added 2.7 million cars in the US this year alone — that's 43% of the 6.3 million cars sold by its eight connected car partners. In total, AT&T has 5.8 million cars on its network. The company told BI Intelligence that the number of postpaid subscribers — consumers paying for an added connected car subscription — is growing. 
  • Consumers and automakers are still worried about the vulnerabilities added internet connectivity creates. Recent connected car hacks, such as the Jeep hack that occurred in July, have brought to light the security risks associated with internet-connected cars. 

Introduction

Estimated Connected Car Active Users ForecastBI Intelligence

Connected cars emerged as a top Internet of Things (IoT) device in 2015, as automakers and technology companies began to realize the added value in connecting cars to the internet. BI Intelligence defines an IoT device as any stand-alone internet-connected device that can be either monitored and/or controlled from a remote location. From an automaker's perspective, a connected car enables it to monitor the car remotely to collect data about usage and push over-the-air software updates. Consumers are also able to track their driving habits and can use the car's infotainment center to access apps. 

We project there will be 220 million internet-connected cars on the road by 2020, up from 34 million in 2015. Of those 220 million connected cars, over half (115 million) will be driven by "active users," defined as those who are:

  • On a free trial subscription for connected services [...]