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Insight from McKinsey & Company on shared vs private escooter preference

269 days ago

4 minutes

Source: McKinsey & Company

The global management consulting firm has shared findings and thoughts on consumer preferences for ownership of e-kickscooters in comparison to use of shared services.

A July 2021 survey by the McKinsey Center for Future Mobility, the Mobility Ownership Consumer Survey, returned responses showing that a staggering 70% or those who answered would use micromobility for their daily commute. Of these, 12 percent said that they would use e-kickscooters as their preferred vehicle type. The follow up article takes a focus on such trips for e-kickscooters and analyze the preferred ownership types.

Now ubiquitous in many cities and in the press, escooter sharing services first launched in the USA in 2017. Their popularity began to rise in 2019, with various companies competing for a portion of the market. The docked or dockless shared models however, warrant further discussion when it is taken into account that only 6 percent of respondents in the survey preferred a shared service when it comes to escooters.

To break down the numbers in more detail, the article states that 64% of those who said they would use an escooter to commute preferred private ownership. Operational leasing or subscription came in a moderate second at 23%. If we consider this a ‘private’ form of ownership, the combined total is 87%. For shared forms including peer-to-peer, station-based, and free-floating services, a low 13% stated this as their preference.

Image credit: McKinsey & Company

Reasons for such a preference for private ownership of escooters were varied:

“33 percent stated that they did not want to share a vehicle with others, and 32 percent wanted the flexibility to carry their vehicle onto a subway or bus. Interestingly, 22 percent of respondents stated that they decided to purchase a private e-kickscooter after trying one out in a sharing service”

Manufactures are presented with mixed takehomes from this information. Where private use entails better care and storage and less wear and tear, the longer lifespan of each unit may result in lower sales figures. At the same time, an individual may be willing to invest in better features and quality, which can increase margins, or they may be open to buying more than one model.

The article recommends: “To win in this potentially lucrative market, manufacturers should consider increasing their focus on B2C sales through dealers and other channels. They could also consider offering subscription-based services, which would provide users with an option between owning and renting.”

Challenges are certainly in store for shared mobility businesses. Rapid uptake can be seen as an advantage for this format when entering new markets, but it would be prudent to consider the incorporation of subscription or leasing models. This can offer stability in the form of recurring revenue, as well as some chance at capturing those users similar to the 23% of respondents mentioned above. Another benefit might come in the form of sales of decommissioned shared scooters. Once they are due to retire from the fleet, the popularity of the escooter means additional revenue may be found in the sale of this stock, which could be re-invested back into the active fleet.

Another sector which may be affected by the rise of the escooter is public transit. Since a large portion of micromobility journeys are replacing those which might have been taken by public transport. The article notes that it is not certain that their journey share will fall, but nonetheless has recommendations on adjustments that could be considered. These include storage space for escooters on their vehicles, which can help not only to retain, but even to gain customers. In a similar vein, employers should look at such storage provisions in the workplace, to contribute towards a happier and healthier staff. A step further for employers looking to embrace the rise of escooters would be financial incentives, offering micromobility vehicles in much the same way as company cars.

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