As Lyft and Uber complete their transitions to public markets, both companies have identified micromobility solutions like electric scooters and bike-sharing as having the potential to contribute materially to the Transportation-as-a-Service (“TaaS”) industry. With such potential, we found it prudent to take a consumer-focused look at micromobility, which is broadly considered the next major battlefield of mobility. The insights that follow are the result of a consumer survey conducted in 2019. Responses from 800 consumers were gathered using Amazon Mechanical Turk. From these responses, it’s clear that this industry is growing significantly, and that its a smart move for Lyft and Uber to be involved in this rapidly expanding sector.
Bike and scooter sharing services, though nascent offerings, have quickly gained popularity in part due to the awareness of the overall ridesharing industry. Although the services are offered primarily in densely populated areas and downtown locations, over 75% of the consumers polled are aware of these services.
Amongst surveyed consumers, the usage has been relatively high. Over a third of people reported using micromobility services at least once a week and over two thirds reported using it at least once a month. Consumers have also hinted at the potential for continued growth in the micromobility space, as over 35% of respondents plan to increase their scooter/bike sharing use over the next year.
There are several big and small players in the bike and scooter sharing market. LimeBike and Bird are the most popular services among survey respondents, contributing to a third of all bike sharing services available. While Lime and Bird are the most familiar applications from our unaided brand awareness results, Jump and Citi Bike topped the list of the most familiar apps from our unaided brand awareness results. Un-aided, 17% of the respondents named Lime as the app that comes to their mind most when they think of bike sharing apps, while 24% of the bike sharing users selected Jump as the most familiar app.
While Jump, which was acquired by Uber in 2018, is available in 15 U.S. cities and 2 international cities, the most wide-spread player in this market is Lyft due to their 2018 acquisition of Motivate. Motivate is a bike sharing platform used by several bike sharing services such as Citi Bike, Go Bike, Biketown, Blue Bikes, Divvy and Capital Bikeshare. According to Lyft’s registration filings, 74% of 2017 bike share trips were completed on Motivate systems.
Interestingly, one of the top reasons consumers use bike sharing apps is environmental consciousness. Over a fourth of respondents indicated they use bike sharing services to help reduce their carbon footprint. The other top reasons include ease of finding a ride, at 24 percent and cost at 20 percent.
20 percent of respondents indicated the top reasons for limiting their usage are unclear parking locations and lack of clarity of traffic rules for bike/scooter sharing users. The micromobility industry grew faster than cities could formulate applicable rules and regulations. Due to increased complaints, some cities have taken extreme measures, including banning these services, until the companies educated users on traffic rules and safe parking locations for their bikes and scooters.
It’s still unclear what proportion of the TaaS market will be held by micromobility solutions, but the $1.5 billion raised over the past two years by market leaders Bird and Lime suggests venture capitalists have high expectations. It’s no surprise then that both Uber and Lyft have opted to expand quickly into this area. To likely counter Lyft’s Motivate acquisition, Uber is reportedly exploring an acquisition of either Bird or Lime – the company is already an investor in the latter. This would likely sweeten the deal and add yet another service under the Uber umbrella as the company begins its roadshow over the next few weeks.
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