Shared Micro-Mobility Takeaways from MOVE 2022

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3Q 2022 | IN-6599

Key takeaways about the shared micro-mobility market from MOVE 2022.

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MOVE 2022


The theme of MOVE 2022 was mobility-reimaged with a strong focus on sustainable urban transport. Therefore, the discussions concentrated on new tech, data, collaborations, and other actions and initiatives that can help mainstream electrification and carbon-neutral smart cities, micro-mobility, and Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS). Due to the substantial number of startups in this area and the challenges faced in establishing sustainable business models, there were several discussions on delivering value to consumers (and investors!) and increasing profitability. One of the conference's key topics was overcoming the main challenges faced by shared micro-mobility and the measures to mainstream this mode of transportation.

Shared Micro-Mobility Insights


From a micro-mobility perspective, the most prominent companies in the segment were present, including Bird, Lime, Volt, Bounce, Tier, and Dott. There were also a significant number of mobility data analytics players, highlighting the growing importance of data in the industry and the urgent need to produce (and use) data-driven insights to overcome the main industry challenges: safety, inappropriate user behavior, inefficient and costly operations, poor fleet management, short vehicle lifecycle, demeaning stereotypes, competitive tenders, and low profitability.

Generally, micro-mobility players were eager to show how their new vehicles were safer and more durable than previous generations. They also aimed to show how their new software capabilities can help prevent unsafe driver behavior and decrease the negative impact that sudden and unmanaged growth of operations brought to cities and their citizens, such as clutter, pedestrian nuisance, and accidents.

Meanwhile, despite high interest in shared micro-mobility due to carbon emission targets, it was clear that city authorities have not yet figured out how this mode of transportation can efficiently and safely be incorporated into the urban landscape. They are seeking to learn from operators and their data to develop policies and plan infrastructure investments accordingly. Consequently, the underlying message from regulators was that obtaining permits will be easier for players that demonstrate, through quantifiable metrics, demand size, how their services complement existing mobility offerings, and their impact on air quality, traffic, and citizens' quality of life.

A Tough Road Ahead


Most shared micro-mobility companies are startups funded by venture capital that typically prioritize growth above other metrics. Hence, they have been eager to expand their operations, paying little attention to developing a solid business model and overpromising what they can deliver to get licenses and win competitive tenders. Consequently, many find themselves with high idle vehicle rates in several markets due to inappropriate fleet sizes and operations in the wrong locations (e.g., over-saturated markets or markets with low demand). The low asset value and sizable funding have enabled this reckless conduct. However, companies are being forced to change their market approach with the growing pressure from investors for profitability and the running out of funding that has allowed them to run unprofitable operations so far.

Although operators expect ridership to increase in light of higher gas prices due to the war in Ukraine, the macroeconomic prospects are not good. Recession fears and spiking inflation in nearly all countries will result in a scarcity of capital and funding and increased production costs. A significant player in the market indicated to ABI Research that it is considering increasing ride prices, which are already high. Meanwhile, Voi recently announced that it does not anticipate any new capital increases in the foreseeable future. Another challenge is the shortage of components, especially for Electric Vehicle (EV) batteries, which is expected to affect vehicle deliveries in 2022.

All factors considered, operators will not have much choice. To thrive in the shared micro-mobility market, they will have to slow down expansion, pull out of less profitable markets, relocate existing operations based on demand-prediction analytics (rather than intuition), and streamline and consolidate resources against their core business. Moreover, they must adopt measures to reduce operational costs, such as outsourcing field operations, adopting swappable batteries, and automating rebalancing and charging tasks through fleet management platforms.

Layoffs and disinvestment have already started and will become even more common in late 2022 and possibly in 2023. Accelerated consolidation is also expected.


Companies Mentioned