Connected Car Report: When it Comes to Connected Cars, Convenience is King


Key Takeaways


  • 58% of drivers decide where to eat after getting into their vehicle at least once per week.
  • 71% of drivers said it would be useful if their vehicle’s infotainment system allowed them to order food or coffee so that it could be ready for pickup when they arrive.
  • 69% of drivers said it would be useful to be able to pay for fuel through their vehicle’s infotainment system.


Make your drive more productive: When it comes to connected cars, convenience is king


American drivers spend an average of 293 hours a year behind the wheel, according to The American Driving Survey from the AAA Foundation. Whether commuting to work, taking kids to soccer practice, or embarking on a road trip, cars are how people navigate the world around them. People also rely on smartphones to navigate and make purchase decisions, and increasingly, vehicles are becoming just as connected. Gartner estimates that 250 million connected cars will be on the road by 2020.

To better understand consumer purchasing habits, preferences, and how connected cars technology play into them, Xevo surveyed a broad range of drivers in the U.S. who frequently use connected car applications on their smartphones. In this connected car report, we found that, on an average weekday, 40% of drivers spend more than one hour in their vehicles, and 11% spend more than 2 hours. All this time in the car means people often end up eating, drinking, shopping, making reservations, and looking up information while on-the-go. The car is no longer about getting from point A to point B—it’s a place to save time, plan ahead, and get things done.

The survey revealed 5 key habits of drivers on the road today who use smartphone companion apps, and how useful it would be for those drivers to access those app features directly from the touchscreen of their vehicles.

Ordering Ahead

The average American spends a significant portion of their day in a vehicle, and in today’s always-on, fast-moving world, anything that offers convenience and efficiency is a major plus. Young customers in particular value features that allow them to save time by avoiding lines and reducing or eliminating wait times.

Xevo found that at least once a week, 58% of drivers decide where to eat after getting into their vehicle, while 54% indicated that someone in their vehicle searched for food or dining options on their phone while on the go. In addition, 62% of drivers order food or drinks to go at least once a week.

The survey that Xevo conducted also revealed that nearly 71% of drivers said it would be useful if their vehicle’s infotainment system allowed them to order food or coffee so that it would be ready for pickup when they arrive. This enticing new automotive commerce feature would allow drivers to order directly from the touchscreen in their vehicle and have their food and drinks waiting for them upon arrival. As indicated in the survey, several drivers make their dining purchase decision while already on the road, so this feature could make that purchase process easier and safer than using a smartphone while driving. Not only would this feature be convenient for drivers, but automakers gain a competitive advantage by allowing drivers to order ahead. Investing in a connected car platform that seamlessly incorporates convenient and efficient features for consumers, without requiring the use of their phone, will make a vehicle more desirable – especially to young customers who want to save time by avoiding lines and ordering ahead.

Making Reservations


According to the survey conducted by Xevo, 68% of drivers surveyed said it would be helpful to have the option of reserving a table in a restaurant through their vehicle’s infotainment system while they are on their way to dinner. We have already seen this initiative come true in Buick’s recently launched Yelp Reservations app.

Fueling Up

The survey found that 69% of drivers said it would be useful to be able to pay for fuel through their car’s infotainment system, revealing something interesting about the future of payments. Gas station pump magnetic credit card skimmers are one of the most prevalent and well-known credit card theft practices in the United States today. A recent survey by Compare Cards of American found that 15% of Americans believe they’ve been a victim of card skimming at the gas pump, and 43% of Americans said they’ve changed the way they pay for gas because of concerns about gas-pump skimming. In-vehicle payments eliminate the need to swipe a credit card at the pump, which reduces the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft. For any driver who’s ever worried about, or experienced, credit card fraud, this is clearly a key benefit.

Running Errands

In addition to eating, placing orders, looking up restaurant information, and fueling up, the average driver spends a fair amount of time running errands—particularly when there are a lot of cars on the road. In fact, 37% of drivers are likely to stop for food, groceries, gas, or to run errands if they find themselves stuck in traffic. Whether picking up a new light bulb or buying a birthday gift for a friend, consumers want to maximize their time with efficient shopping experiences.

In this survey, 60% of drivers said it would be helpful if their vehicle’s infotainment system allowed them to order groceries for curbside pickup from their local market, and 56% of drivers said it would be helpful if their vehicle’s infotainment system allowed them to order retail products for curbside pickup. As with ordering food or coffee ahead, there’s a strong desire to avoid or even eliminate waiting in lines and getting out of the car.


Since automotive commerce is still in its early days, the features consumers actually want and need from their infotainment system have room to grow, but there’s no question that automotive experts have to invest in connected car platforms if they want to stay competitive. As the survey results in our connected car report show, it’s clear that convenience is the king of the road. Platforms such as Xevo Market aim to pioneer this exciting new space as the demand for in-vehicle commerce and services grows rapidly among drivers.


From May 9, 2018 to August 11, 2018, Xevo conducted multiple surveys with a broad range of drivers in the US who frequently use applications on their smartphones. Data was gathered between two rounds of surveying: 1,814 drivers were surveyed in the first round and 1,446 in the second round, for a total of 3,260 people surveyed. The conclusions were made based on data from the 1,115 drivers aged 18-45.

Interested in sharing these findings? Click the button below to download a PDF version of this report.

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Xevo will attend CES 2019 in January. If you are interested in meeting with us at the show to discuss these survey findings and our revolutionary Xevo Market automotive commerce platform, please click here to contact us.

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