Shared mobility faces major COVID-19 threat, says GlobalData

A new study by GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, highlights the threat to the formerly buoyant ride-hail sector posed by changed consumer attitudes across the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mike Vousden, Automotive Analyst at GlobalData comments: “In simple terms, the concept of shared mobility is now in question as consumers re-evaluate their risk appetite for exposure.”

“Sharing an enclosed vehicle – whether it is a ride-hailed taxi or a shared car club vehicle – now presents an increased chance of infection. This will blunt growth in the sector, preventing it from reaching the economies of scale needed to become financially sustainable.

“Uber, for example, painted a bleak picture with its second quarter 2020 earnings, reporting a 35% year-on-year reduction in the number of bookings on its platform. This pivot to a sudden, dramatic decline reflects the sheer speed with which COVID-19 has upended the ride-hailing industries.”

In the longer term, GlobalData’s study concludes that demand for ride-hailing and car sharing is unlikely to reach its pre-COVID targets due to structural changes in working patterns and a big switch to remote and home working – some of which will be permanent.

Vousden adds: “Whatever the societal benefits of changes to where and the way we work, a reduced number of journeys to a place of work is bad news for shared mobility services because it reduces the potential user base and business growth prospects.”

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