1/21/2016 | 1 MINUTE READ

Consumers Agree on Cars But Not How They Will Be Used

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New research suggests 86% of consumers worldwide expect to own a car within the next 10 years, including 14% who can't yet afford one.

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New research suggests 86% of consumers worldwide expect to own a car within the next 10 years, including 14% who can't yet afford one. But most of those polled foresee major changes in the way they relate to vehicles.

Surveyed consumers age 18-24, who currently rely on cars for only 50% of their primary transportation, expect the ratio will grow by one-third over the next 10 years. But respondents who are at least 35 years old predict their use of personal cars for primary transportation will shrink 22% over the same period.

The report, A New Relationship People and Cars, is based on a survey by the IBM Institute for Business Value of nearly 16,500 consumers in 16 countries. The analysis says consumers in emerging markets are considerably more eager than those in mature markets to try mobility innovations such as car-sharing or fractional ownership.

Lead author Ben Stanley says the former group has a "When can I have it?" mentality based on perceived value. That compares with a more cautious, "Why do I need it?" attitude among consumers in mature markets.

The IBM study also finds strong interest among all groups in what it calls self-enabling vehicles: cars that can automatically care for themselves and their occupants. Such capabilities include from vehicles that can fix themselves, connect with their surroundings, learn their driver's behaviors, configure themselves to the driver's preferences and drive themselves.

The survey says two-thirds of early adopters dubbed Pacesetters and Fast Followers and representing 48% of all consumers are in emerging markets. Surprisingly, it says there is no correlation between enthusiasm for digital innovations and age, gender or economic segment.

The findings suggests carmakers would be wise to develop ways to assess a customer's relative interest in technology and tailor their marketing of such features accordingly. Stanley tells AutoBeat Daily the effort could be centered at the dealership level and include displays that customers could use to try out in-car features before they buy.