Post-Covid Micromobility Landscape: Trends and Top Players
Just as micro-mobility was accelerating 3 years ago, COVID-19 came along and dealt a blow to this young industry, the same as how it has affected all the other businesses on a global scale.
Before the pandemic, micromobility vehicles - ranging from lightweight vehicles such as bicycles, e-scooters, and mopeds, to mini-cars and autonomous robot shuttle vans, are growing together with technologies including vehicle electrification, IoT, and LiDAR to create a transportation network that brings comfort and convenience to urban commuters.
Luckily, McKinsey has predicted in its article that it is fully possible for the industry to recover and evolve even faster than pre-pandemic levels as long as providers are prepared to the new norm. So, the question is, what should we expect?
Overall, the Use of Micromobility Will Increase
Although the pandemic has no doubt caused a crisis in the development of micromobility with the number of passenger-kilometers traveled declining by 50% to 60% worldwide, the impact is only in the short term.
According to a survey conducted by consulting firm Oliver Wyman, while a third of respondents plan to use it as much as before Covid-19, 44% of respondents are willing to increase their use of micromobility options post-pandemic.
That might be caused by a higher awareness level of personal hygiene and physical distancing, which encourages consumers to use micromobility, rather than public transportation, for short trips.
Consumer’s Priorities for Transportation Methods Are Shifting
While the industry will still be growing, consumers’ usage patterns will undeniably look different from what it was before the pandemic.
According to a McKinsey survey, prior to the crisis, the time to destination is the priority for people choosing micromobility, followed by convenience and space, and privacy. The risk of infection has become the top concern of travelers both for business and commuting trips and personal trips after the pandemic.
Increased MaaS (Mobility as a Service) Usability
Just as what has been mentioned earlier, due to the rising awareness of health and physical distancing, people are actively looking for alternatives of transportation
Aside from short-distance travel, people are also replacing trains with shared cars. As revealed by a McKinsey survey, 9% of people are willing to use private micromobility on a regular basis compared to the pre-crisis level, and 12% of people are going for shared micromobility.
And of course, there will be geographic diversity. For instance, vehicles will be slightly larger in the U.S. than in Europe and Asia. Let us dive deeper into the major companies in each region.
Bird launched its services in California in 2017, making them the first pure scooter-sharing company to exist globally. Following Bird’s success, several US-based micromobility startups reached unicorn status in a short period of time and attracted millions of dollars of investments. Besides Bird, other major players in the region are Lime and Lyft.
Shared bicycles as a public service is not a new concept throughout Europe, so the idea of micromobility was welcomed and quickly accepted by major European cities. Although US-based micromobility companies are also entering the European market, Tier, Dott, and Voi still hold great market share in the region.
With less regulation compared to Europe and North America, micromobility startups had the advantage of quick implementation across Asian cities. Numerous China-based micromobility startups such as Ofo, Mobike, and Hellobike are emerging, Singapore-based Beam is also a prominent player in the micromobility battlefield.
Although interrupted by the pandemic, the micromobility industry is still going to grow as people are seeking a safer and cleaner way to commute.
Serving as a replacement for fuel-consuming vehicles, these electronically powered devices rely heavily on stable and efficient battery swapping system to provide the best experience of personal transportation, and a reliable connection system is key to the power exchange system.
As consumer and governmental adoption grows, we can expect to see more and more micromobility vehicles on the streets in the future.