Automotive apps to generate $1.67 billion by 2018: ABI Research

The number of automotive apps downloaded in cars will jump from around 12 million at the end of 2012 to some 4.3 billion by the end of 2018, generating revenues of $1.67 globally, according to a new study from ABI Research.

The market-research company thinks apps will have a revolutionary impact on the connected cars market, which has seen relatively modest growth so far, with car companies struggling to generate revenue from monthly subscriptions.

The number of automotive apps downloaded in cars will jump from around 12 million at the end of 2012 to some 4.3 billion by the end of 2018, generating revenues of $1.67 globally, according to a new study from ABI Research.

The market-research company thinks apps will have a revolutionary impact on the connected cars market, which has seen relatively modest growth so far, with car companies struggling to generate revenue from monthly subscriptions.

“Car OEMs now increasingly see infotainment as a key differentiator in their cars,” said Gareth Owen, a principal analyst at ABI Research. “We predict a sharp growth in the adoption of connected car infotainment systems over the next few years, with apps being the main driver, as for the iPhone.”

Various proprietary, open standard and open source systems are now vying to become the de facto technology for downloading apps in the car, notes ABI Research.

While the original impetus in connected cars came from platforms like GM’s OnStar and Ford’s SYNC, companies including Apple (Cupertino, CA, USA) and Google (Mountain View, CA, USA) are now battling it out for domination, with carmakers and major suppliers also in the mix of players looking to capture a slice of the market.

ABI Research also expects to see a sharp rise in the use of Bluetooth in cars with the growing adoption of in-car infotainment systems.

Consumers have grown used to listening to music or connecting with social media sites over their mobile devices, says ABI Research, but they will be able to make calls and use other services hands-free as Bluetooth becomes prevalent.