A report on European micromobility amid COVID-19 pandemic
The pandemic delivered a big blow to the European micromobility sector. According to a report, the sector was hit just as the industry was accelerating along a growth trajectory. “In 2019, a banner year, our models predicted that the micromobility industry would be a $300B to $500B (€253.5B to €422.5B) market by 2030.” The report also predicts that the industry might “make a strong post-pandemic recovery.”
According to a new white paper from INVERS, the European micro-mobility industry has proved extremely resilient amid pandemic. Based out of Siegen, Germany, INVERS is a mobility services company that offers innovative SaaS and IoT-based products.
Recently, the company worked together with mobility intelligence provider fluctuo to analyse seven submarkets in the European shared micro-mobility ecosystem (moped sharing in Germany, Spain, France, and Italy and kick scooter sharing in Germany, France, and Italy) to understand and quantify how COVID-19‘s first peak and lockdown impacted utilisation across the different markets.
The whitepaper analyses the market development in moped and scooter sharing in core European markets (Germany, France, Spain and Italy) over three periods: September 2019 (pre-COVID), March/April 2020 (COVID lockdown) and September 2020 (post-COVID lockdown). The utilisation benchmark was indicated by the average number of trips per day per available vehicle.
According to INVERS, “Despite the large decrease of moped and scooter usage during the peak of the first COVID wave in March/April 2020, overall, shared moped and scooter usage recovered over the summer. In some cases, the average number of trips per day per available vehicle even surpassed pre-COVID usage levels.”
Here’s what the report found by comparing data across three key periods Sept 2019, Mar/Apr 2020 (peak of the 1st COVID wave), and Sep 2020:
The French market has proved to be very resilient. The kick scooter sharing sector showed strong resilience as well, as the sector made a comeback to a utilisation rate of 2.4 trips per available vehicle.
In Germany, while the number of trips per available vehicle dropped to roughly 25% compared to Sep 2019, utilisation increased to roughly 75% in Sep 2020 year over year.
In Italy, strict lockdown regulations saw a substantial reduction in rental numbers in March with some operators even pausing their operations. However, the Italian micro-mobility market bounced back across the summer, with cities like Milan and Rome even welcoming new operators than ever with increasing fleet size.
In Spain, the first lockdown took a heavy toll on shared mobility operations – Moped sharing dropped from a pre-COVID utilisation rate of 4.9 to a lockdown-caused rate of just 0.2. In September 2020, the rate recovered to a level of 2.4 trips per available vehicle or approx. 50 % of pre-COVID usage.
Alexander Gmelin, CPO of INVERS, sees two trends to dealing with the pandemic: focus and innovation. First off, operators must focus on how to quickly adapt their business to an evolving and changing landscape; for example, by implementing new revenue opportunities or entering into new partnerships. For this, the reliable technical infrastructure is crucial for success.
Secondly, operators should develop innovative approaches to diversify their business; for example, subscription models can be added on top of shared mobility offerings to minimise the time a shared vehicle is not used. In addition, new functions such as sensors for air quality or noise sensors can be implemented to provide a supplemental service. Technology should offer operators this flexibility.
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