Car Rental (Self Drive) Market Trend and Analysis of Traveller Types, Key Destinations, Challenges and Opportunities, 2021 Update

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The global car rental market was valued at US$58.30 billion in 2020. The market is projected to grow stably post-pandemic. The overall car rental market was not as highly affected as the travel industry, which lost around 60% of its market value in 2020. Recovery is expected to be swifter in car rental, with the overall market value reaching pre-pandemic levels by 2023. North America was the leading region in the global car rental market followed by Europe, Asia Pacific, South & Central America, the Middle East & Africa. The car rental industry needed to adapt quickly by changing operational strategy, implementing safety protocols, and more rigorous sanitation methods. The financial impact of the pandemic on these businesses cannot be underestimated, with many top car rental firms reporting significant drops in revenue, typically reporting 40% drops or more.

Overview of the global car rental market

Overview of the global car rental market

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What are the key regions in the global car rental market?

Key regions in the global car rental market include North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South & Central America, Middle East & Africa. During the pandemic, North America’s overall global market share increased despite the fall in demand. While other markets will recover their global market share between 2021 and 2025, North America’s market value will continue to recover and will reach pre-pandemic levels by 2022. The large domestic market is the key reason for its global domination. 89% of the tourism in Canada, the US, and Mexico are domestic. During the review period, the car hire industry in the APAC region grew by a CAGR of more than 6% making it the fastest-growing region in terms of market share globally as the other regions. However, the Middle East will witness the most significant projected growth during the forecast period and pre-pandemic levels are attainable in 2022, followed by substantial year-on-year growth in 2023 and 2024.

Global car rental market share, by region

Global car rental market share, by region

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What are the market dynamics in the global car rental market?

The overall market value across GlobalData’s 60 core leading tourism markets fell by 45%, devastating revenues and forcing some businesses into bankruptcy. Non-airport rentals fell at a higher rate than airport rentals, as an effect of multiple lockdowns on a global scale which restricted the freedom of movement. Business travel, an integral part of the car rental ecosystem contributing to a major share of the total car rental market value, fell by more than half in 2020 due to the pandemic. The significant fall is due to the changing attitudes towards business operations and travel in general during the pandemic. In 2020 many countries-imposed lockdowns, ordering non-key workers to work from home and restricting all but essential travel. Both offline and online sales for car hires were already falling between 2015 and 2019 and 2020 followed the same trend due to COVID-19. However, online sales will recover swiftly by 2022 but on the other hand, offline sales may never recover.

With the effects of COVID-19 and the fear of catching the virus, 50% of respondents according to g to a 2021 GlobalData poll, cited fear of catching COVID as the main deterrent from traveling.

What are the key themes impacting the car rental industry?

Environmental, Social, and Governance: The focus on ESG and growing sentiment toward caring for the environment from both leisure customers and businesses could result in a myriad of new product developments which could either enhance or disrupt the market. The attitudes of corporate entities are also changing as they are under pressure to reduce CO2 emissions and create more sustainable businesses practices. As the pandemic progressed in 2020, businesses have learned to adapt without business travel with trips cut due to travel restrictions and corporate budget cuts.

Technology: Due to the impacts of COVID-19, touchless rentals have become a necessity for more car rental dealerships. However, these technologies are nothing new to the industry. Developments in key fobs, mobile apps, and online travel booking have made touchless technology easier to implement for many large car rental companies

Electric vehicles: Electric will eventually become necessary, particularly in some developed countries where governments have made significant plans to reduce CO 2 emissions over the next 40 years. The development of electric vehicles and their growing reputation and necessity in the automotive industry gives car hire companies a chance to enhance their reputation as a more sustainable travel solution. Hertz invested in 100,000 Tesla Model 3 electric vehicles. This is the single most significant order for electric vehicles ever, making Hertz once again a pioneer in the car rental market.

Autonomous vehicles: For several years, car rental companies have been making small steps to develop autonomous vehicles (self-driven). Though this technology opens some doors for car rental companies, the development of autonomous vehicles will change consumer habits. Driving may still be a pleasure for some, and car rental companies will need to be aware of this. It could be a significant detractor from ride-hailing services, allowing car hire companies to continue investing in autonomous technology.

Sharing economy: Sharing economy within the car rental industry has existed for at least a decade. The growth of Airbnb and the population’s realization that they can profit from their assets have helped to share economy expand across multiple industries.

Mergers and Acquisitions: The rationale for M&A within car rental companies vary as some large corporate entities sell large assets to pay off debts or increase liquidity as the industry tackles post-pandemic recovery. Other car rental businesses have seen it as an opportunity to develop products and technology, creating a more diverse service portfolio and user experience.

Which are the key players in the global car rental market?

In 2020, by revenue, Enterprise Holdings (US) was the leading market player followed by Avis (US), The Hertz Corporation (US), Lotte Rent a Car (SK), Localiza (BR), Sixt (DE), Europcar Mobility Group (FR) and CAR Inc (CN).

Global car rental market, by key players

Global car rental market, by key players

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Market report scope

Market size (Year – 2020) US$58.30 billion
Year on year (Y-o-Y)  >-40% from 2019 to 2020
Base year for estimation 2020
Forecast period 2021–2025
Segmentation by Regions North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South & Central America, Middle East & Africa
Key players Enterprise Holdings (US), Avis (US), The Hertz Corporation (US), Lotte Rent a Car (SK), Localiza (BR), Sixt (DE), Europcar Mobility Group (FR), CAR Inc (CN)

This report provides a comprehensive analysis of the global car rental market. It provides: 

  • The latest trends, covid-19 impact followed by technological developments in the market
  • Market size, value (in USD Billion), and forecast for the Car Rental Market for all the regions
  • Updated information on the changing business models of the leading companies
  • Updated information about the mergers and acquisitions that are and will impact the market

Reasons to Buy

  • Obtain both qualitative and quantitative analysis of the market based on both economic as well as non-economic factors
  • Facilitate decision making based on a detailed analysis of the challenges and opportunities
  • Access market size data for all the regions
  • Obtain a competitive landscape that incorporates the market ranking of the major players, along with new service/product launches, partnerships, business expansions, mergers and acquisitions, and business models

Didi Chuxing
Enterprise Holdings

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Market Snapshot

Product Overview

Key Themes Impacting the Car Rental Industry

Key Market Trends Influenced by COVID 19

Market Trends

Operational Changes

Financial strategies used to tackle the pandemic

Key Market Trends

Pickups Airport and Non Airport

Continental Markets

Online Sales Will Continue to dominate the market

ESG Environmental, Social and Governance

Technology is Driving Change

Changing Business Models


Ride Sharing

Peerto Peer Car Rental

Company Case Studies

Enterprise The World’s Leading Car Rental Company

Hertz Rising from Bankruptcy



SIXT Acquires 10 new locations from failing Advantage

Challenges and Opportunities




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