What do Americans want in their cars? More cameras — and dogs
15 February 2018 - Autoblog
Here's an example of data mining for good — but it always starts out that way, doesn't it? Google gathered and parsed automotive searches from September 2015 to August 2017, adjusted the results for seasonal fluctuations, then filtered the search topics into trends.
Aiming to understand a trend further, Google analyzed YouTube videos on related topics, and spoke to 1,000 consumers. The search giant organized all of that data into four groups: market-specific trends for the U.S., Germany, and Japan, and overall trends for those three markets. The result, which wants to answer the question, "How are consumers looking to enhance their driving experience?," is the first Google Automotive Trends Report.
Each trend comes in six flavors, three uptrends and three downtrends, divided according to strength, cyclical pattern, and abruptness. In the U.S. market, the top two Sustained Risers ranked by search volume are car wraps and steering wheel covers. But the fifth-largest search in that category is dog car seat covers, and dog car seats come up second in Seasonal Risers after backup cameras. America shows a searching love for its animals — well, its dogs at least — that the other two markets don't have; Germany had the only animal-related search, a hundegitter auto, German for a protective dog grate or cage.
Germany's three uptrends focused on pumping up the jams: car subwoofer searches led Sustained Risers, car radio with Bluetooth led Seasonal Risers, and extendable/retractable car led Rising Stars. Quizzically, car hifi led the Falling Stars downtrend, a few notches above the supposedly rising hifi subwoofer. The Japanese went in for cameras and tchotchkes. Drive recorder leads two of the three Japanese uptrends, rear seat monitor and parking monitoring drive recorder make appearances lower in the orders, as do smart key case and cute car seat cover. The U.S. and Japan share a love for steering wheel covers, though.
Overall, every market wants more cameras in the car, looking outside or inside. Google says the 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor strike jolted interest in onboard cameras, but the searches have only grown since. Germans are hyped up on 360-degree cameras and GPS capabillity, Americans and Japanese want front and rear cameras, but we want HD features in ours, the Japanese want GPS in theirs. U.S. drivers also want spy cameras, presumably in HD, because shady things go down in our cars, apparently. A brief read, you can check out the full Google Automotive Trends Report here.