Short term: Spiked valuations and more bicycle lanes
In our short-term analysis, we examined the impact of the global pandemic on micromobility by examining the response of the industry itself, consumers, and cities.
Micromobility-service providers are struggling
The global lockdown is profoundly affecting service-provider valuations, workers employed in the sector, and the speed of industry consolidation. For example, the valuation of one company operating a worldwide network of e-bikes and e-scooters recently dropped by a reported 79 percent. Another provider halted operations in six US cities and all of its European markets, laying off 30 percent of its workforce. A third company cut working hours for 60 percent of its staff while supplying a streamlined fleet of its e-scooters to healthcare workers in Germany. The lockdown has also accelerated industry-consolidation moves. For example, a micromobility company recently acquired the e-bicycle and e-scooter business of a major ride-hailing company.
Consumer behavior is shifting rapidly
In response to measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic, such as shelter-at-home orders, local travel preferences are quickly changing. One example is the preference for longer trips. According to a US micromobility company that rents e-scooters, average trip distances have grown 26 percent since the start of the pandemic, with rides in some cities, such as Detroit, increasing by up to 60 percent. At a more detailed level, some cities are also experiencing a shift in consumer use cases. For instance, in San Francisco, the lockdown has caused a pronounced shift toward runs to the pharmacy and trips to restaurants to pick up food.
Cities are offering greater support for biking
Worldwide, the lockdown has driven new citywide policies. One major result is an increased focus on bicycle lanes. Consider the following:
Milan has announced that 35 kilometers of streets previously used by cars will be transitioned to walking and cycling lanes after the lockdown is lifted.
Paris will convert 50 kilometers of lanes usually reserved for cars to bicycle lanes. It also plans to invest $325 million to update its bicycle network.
Brussels is turning 40 kilometers of car lanes into cycle paths.
Seattle permanently closed 30 kilometers of streets to most vehicles, providing more space for people to walk and bike following the lockdown.
Montreal announced the creation of more than 320 kilometers of new pedestrian and bicycle paths across the city.
Mobility patterns will likely change
As seen during the COVID-19 crisis, average trip distances might increase, since people will use micro-mobility solutions more often when commuting. In our 2019 global ACES2 consumer survey, less than 20 percent of all shared-micromobility trips typically involved commuting. However, this survey also indicated that more than 70 percent of respondents would consider buying a private e-scooter for everyday commutes to work or school. This shift could boost private ownership in the e-scooter market.
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