The sharing economy is one of the most remarkable developments of the 21st century’s global marketplace. People are sharing, renting and borrowing everything, from handbags to houses, instead of purchasing and owning the items themselves. This kind of collaborative consumption is also very much present in the automotive industry – where car-sharing is a growing trend that may very well change the way the industry looks and operates today.
Sharing is caring
The United States and China are the two largest markets for shared mobility, and the popularity is increasing in Europe. Owning your own car is still what the customers prefer though, according to several studies. This trend might be changing with the younger generation. Studies are showing that millennials (someone born between the early 1980’s and early 2000’s) have a very open mind when it comes to sharing rides, and are seen as the ones that will change how the automotive industry is operating.
Studies are also showing that a majority of asked millennials are actively making an effort to reduce their road-time and to drive less. One of the major factors for this is the environmental concerns. With this generation, consciously making decisions to not own their cars, it is crucial to find new selling points and business models.
Focus on flexibility
The way people are getting around in the future, especially in the cities, is believed to become “multi-modal” by those in the industry. Using smartphones to plan, mix and match trips combining cars, bikes, and public transportation might be the way to go. Flexibility is what the industry should be focusing on – in all aspects.
It is hard to know if the vehicle sales will decrease due to the growth of car-sharing. Some studies suggest that’s the case, while others state the opposite. Either way, it’s important to understand that the automotive industry will change, in one way or another. While the vehicle sales may decrease, new profitable options will rise. For the younger generation, who in their twenties don’t wish for an ownership, a car-sharing service could be a way to reach out to a potential future customer. With age, the needs and approach might change. For manufacturers offering flexible solutions, there’s a chance the customers remain loyal – making you the top-of-mind option when it’s time for the big purchase.