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Over the past decade and a half, much of the world has changed the way that it consumes media. We download music in seconds, rather than visiting record shops. We use gadgets like Roku and apps like Sling instead of keeping pricey cable TV subscriptions. And most of us emptied our gloveboxes of service station roadmaps years ago. (Though in fairness, we stopped stowing our gloves there ages ago, too.)
At the center of all these changes sits one device: the smartphone. And according to Autotrader's Car Tech Impact Study, the ease with which auto shoppers can pair their smartphone with a car's infotainment system is a major factor in purchase decisions.
To come to that conclusion, Autotrader worked with marketing firms KS&R, Inc. and Research Now to survey 1,012 American vehicle owners, all of whom were 18 or older. The poll was conducted online last September.
Admittedly, web-based surveys aren't always great at gauging public opinion. The data is necessarily limited to participants with web access -- not to mention those inclined to take polls -- so we ought to view the data with a tiny bit of skepticism.
That said, infotainment isn't the only area in which consumers are hungry for advanced technology. A huge 70 percent of respondents said that they wanted autonomous features in their next cars -- features like parking assist and collision avoidance -- and were more likely to consider vehicles that had those offerings.
In fact, safety features trumped infotainment by a fairly big margin. Among respondents, 83 percent said that those features were likely to be more important factors in their future purchasing decisions.
The big winners in the industry will be those who manage to include both sets of features, says Autotrader research analyst Rachelle Petusky: "Consumers have learned to integrate the technology into their lives. When they get into their cars they expect to stay connected with simple and easy smartphone integration. The manufacturers who blend that with autonomous features are the ones who will win."
If you're in the market for a new car, let us know about the technology at the top of your wish list. Share your thoughts in the comments below.