When Will Americans Give Up Car Ownership?

Based on their most recent investment round, Uber is worth more than Ford. GM just invested $500 million in Lyft. Google’s self-driving car recently crashed into a bus, and in a few years there will be millions of self-driving cars crashing into buses globally.

It got us thinking here at Survata… does anyone even drive anymore? So we’ve been asking consumers about cars. It turns out the vast majority of Americans still own a car, but we’ve found an interesting group: the 45% of American car owners who would be willing to give up car ownership. The implications of this are huge. What could cause it? It differs a bit by age, as you can see in the chart below.

survata tracks ridesharing and self-driving car consumer perceptions

How weird is it that self-driving cars are ahead of ride sharing as a reason to give up car ownership? When people want to be driven around… most prefer that a robot do the driving. Frankly it’s a sensible risk assessment, and anything sensible on this topic is a relief after how many people have lost their minds over Uber.

We expect consumer perception to be an important influence on the politicians and bureaucrats who will decide who self-driving cars should be programmed to kill. We’ll keep our finger on the pulse.

Forbes and Wired Change Consumer Perceptions of Ad Blocking

Forbes and Wired recently tried an experiment. They asked website visitors using ad blocking software to turn it off – and denied them access if they refused. This was a risky move for a few reasons.

1) The media coverage of this experiment could increase awareness and usage of ad blocking software (our data does show an uptick in consumer awareness)
2) They could accidentally serve malware ads to consumers after demanding ad blocking software be turned off (Forbes has been accused of this)
3) They could lose readers (while ad blocking readers don’t generate ad revenue, they contribute to total page views which still matters to some advertisers)

We asked consumers about ad blocking in November last year, and again last month. Ad blocking software usage has stayed steady at about 9% of total American internet users.1 But our data2 shows that Forbes and Wired have likely helped move the needle on an important metric: intent to start using ad blocking software.

survata tracks Netflix's most watched originals

To sum up, though awareness may have ticked up, intent to use dropped significantly. That’s a win for online publishers. Was this a blip or a turning point? Check back with us in May to find out (or add your email address in the box on the right and we’ll send you the next batch of results).

Footnotes:
1. A recent estimate put the US percentage of ad blockers at 15%, though critics have pointed out that the publisher of the data has a vested interest in that number being as high as possible.
2. Chart displays rounded values. The change in “I haven’t used it, but I think I’m going to try it out” is outside the margin of error, i.e., is statistically significant.