Barely an Apple event goes by without a rumor about its upcoming foray into the automotive space. Google, meanwhile, has had driverless cars roaming across various parts of the US for several years. The refrain from drivers in the UK, however, is what's all the fuss about? Interest in tech companies getting involved in the automotive industry is apparently lagging many other countries.
According to June 2015 research by consultancy FreshMinds for Capgemini, only 26% of car shoppers in the UK were willing to switch from their current car brand to a vehicle produced by a tech company. This was the lowest response rate among all countries covered by the research, trailing other Western nations like the US (29%), Germany (32%) and France (38%), and falling well behind the likes of China (74%) and India (81%).
But even without the futuristic notion of ceding vehicular control to tech, consumers in the UK seem unlikely to involve digital in the car-buying process at all. The same piece of research also found that the UK trailed other nations by another measure—willingness to buy a car digitally. Again, China and India were well ahead in interest levels, with 60% and 57%, respectively, willing to involve digital in a car purchase. The UK, however, propped up the rankings again, with just 20% saying they were willing to take this route to purchase.
Research from earlier this year gave another perspective on digital's limited influence on car buyers in the UK. An April 2015 study from ecommerce network platform provider Bazaarvoice found that digital consumer-generated content had very little influence on automotive purchases in the UK. Just 18% of consumers polled for the research said that such content had a significant influence on their purchase decision. The proportion was slightly higher in the US (19%) and markedly so in the Netherlands (33%) and Australia (46%).
While driverless cars may well be coming to a road near you soon, it seems that car buyers in the UK are so far underwhelmed by the prospect.