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The Latest Insights into the Future of Mobility

08. November 2021 | Lesezeit: 6 min

In August 2021, McKinsey & Company published a comprehensive market analysis of shared mobility named "Shared mobility: Where it stands, where it's headed". The study looks at the individual segments of the shared mobility market not only in terms of market share, but also with regard to investments and the user sentiment. It also takes a look at the future of mobility - because as soon as autonomous driving services become marketable, they will challenge the status quo.

In the following article, we summarize the key findings for car sharing, bike sharing and scooter sharing providers. McKinsey & Company will present further insights at the MOQO Summit on November 9.

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OPEX Best Practice

Car sharing is growing, but is not a self-runner

Car sharing is still on a growth course. From 2016 to 2020, the number of trips made by free-floating carsharing services alone doubled and amounted to approximately 70 million trips worldwide in 2020, despite the Corona pandemic, while in 2019 the figure was 55 million trips. The global market volume of car sharing was estimated at around USD 4-6 billion in 2019.

However, if we take a look at the mobility options used by consumers, car sharing still plays a rather small role. The consumers surveyed stated that, globally speaking, their own car is still the most frequently used vehicle. On average, the fewest trips are made with a car sharing service, fewer than with e-hailing, public transport or micro mobility services. In Germany, only 7% of respondents so far say they make regular use of car sharing (i.e., at least once a week). 28 % of German respondents say they use car sharing less regularly, and 65 % have never used it.

Here, potential becomes clear. In the USA, the number of respondents who use a car sharing service at least once a week is significantly higher at 17%. In China, as many as 24% use it regularly. So what needs to happen for the service in Germany to become more appealing and more frequently replace driving one's own car or an alternative mobility service?

Potentials in usage figures

Carsharing Usage Numbers in Germany
Carsharing Usage in international Comparison

The Key to Success: Operational Excellence

For Benedikt Kloss, co-author of the study, Operational Excellence is an important factor in making car sharing more attractive in the future. The customer journey for potential drivers must be as pleasant and smooth as possible in order to avoid hurdles and obstacles on the way to booking. Users want to find a roadworthy, loaded and clean vehicle where they need it. To ensure this, car sharing providers must optimize their internal processes and have an excellent overview of customer needs and the situation on the local mobility market.

Micro Mobility Continues to Boom Even After the Corona Pandemic

Before the Corona pandemic and the first lockdowns, shared micro mobility services were growing steeply: between 2017 and 2019, the number of trips made by bike or kickscooter increased 150-fold globally. This development was slowed down due to the pandemic, but the number of trips was still higher in 2020 than in 2018.

At more than USD 9 billion, micro mobility providers have the second highest investment in the shared mobility sector after e-hailing services, i.e. app-based cab and ride services. This willingness to invest indicates confidence in the future of the industry.

Also the estimates of McKinsey & Company paint a positive picture of the future of Micro Mobility - after the global outbreak of Covid-19 this is even more optimistic than before. By 2030, the consultancy estimates a 5-10% increase in kilometers traveled compared to the pre-Corona estimates beforehand. Reasons and drivers for this are changed needs and preferences of users. Micro mobility offers the possibility to reduce contacts and maintain distances, has a supposedly lower risk of contagion than, for example, public transport and is considered a green and low-noise means of transport.

Not Only Growth Counts, But Also Profitability

For an individual shared micro mobility provider, however, it is not just the growth potential of the entire sector that counts, but above all the profitability of its own offering. The positive developments in demand and also the efforts of individual cities to create more space for green forms of mobility basically offer a good starting position for companies.

The decisive factor in the second step is a provider's ability to keep costs below sales and get many people interested in its own service - and this requires efficient processes and structures. Although an e-scooter can reach the break-even point after less than four months on average, and thus earlier than a car sharing car, for example, the provision including regular positioning, charging, maintenance, cleaning and repair also represents a high labor and cost outlay.

So, in addition to an appealing business model, it is also a matter of internal Operational Excellence whether a company manages to provide a sustainable and profitable offering.

Understanding Customer Needs

Regardless of whether it's car sharing, bike sharing or scooter sharing - in the end, it's all about meeting the needs of customers and offering them the best possible service. In order to align business activities with the (potential) users, providers first have to know them.

McKinsey & Company's market study provides insights into the most relevant aspects of a sharing offer from the customer's perspective. According to an area-wide survey at the end of 2020, these are as follows:

Facts for drivers in carsharing

Autonomous Mobility - the Future?

It will be exciting when autonomous mobility services such as robo cabs and shuttles or air cabs become market-ready. According to studies by McKinsey & Company, consumers are already expressing interest in these autonomous services and could imagine paying as much for them as for owning their own car. Should autonomous mobility come onto the market, robo cabs and shuttles in particular could become the most widespread form of mobility in 2030. Sharing providers should therefore ask themselves today what role they want to and can play in this changed market.

About Benedikt Kloss, Co-Author of the Study

Benedikt Kloss is an Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company in Frankfurt and a member of the McKinsey Center for Future Mobility (MCFM). Since joining the firm as a consultant in 2016, he mainly focuses on topics related to future mobility, with a focus on shared mobility, especially micro mobility, car/ride sharing, autonomous driving and advanced air mobility. Benedikt holds a PhD in Physics from the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.

In his presentation at MOQO Summit 2021, he provides insight into his view of shared mobility and its future on behalf of the strategy consultancy McKinsey & Company.

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