Ever since start-ups Mobike and Ofo kickstarted the bike-sharing market in China, the shared micro-mobility market has exploded globally. The vision of bike-sharing becoming a popular method of “last mile” travel is now a reality. Over the last few years, sharing service operators not only grew their fleets of shared bikes, but also expanded their services by introducing other two-wheeled vehicles such as pedelecs, electric scooters, and mopeds. While micro-mobility took a hit from pandemic lock-down orders, micro-mobility is here to stay and will continue to grow in the post-COVID-19 world. Global tech market advisory firm, ABI Research forecasts the worldwide installed base of micro-mobility vehicles to reach 50 million by 2026.
COVID has dramatically changed the micro-mobility market as many service operators finding themselves having to halt their services. “For-profit to be made, rides need to take place and as a consequence of COVID-19, service operators are facing huge short-term profitability challenges,” explains Harriet Sumnall, Research Analyst at ABI Research. Many operators have had to reduce their workforce as well as suspend their operations globally, which will impact the amount of available cash to keep the companies afloat. Though global lockdowns have forced the downsizing or suspension of many fleets, micro-mobility usage of available fleets has not been completely halted. “And now, with the increased anxieties over using public transport due to the fear of infection, micro-mobility is considered as an alternative mode of transport. The sharing of bikes, pedelecs, electric scooters, and mopeds are fitting the post-COVID-19 bill,” says Sumnall.
Service operators are offering a variety of different services that can improve image and reputation during these trying times. Lime is offering a new service named Lime Aid which allows public health workers to enjoy 30-minute rides for free. At the same time, Spin and Lyft are offering free bikeshare access for employees within the healthcare and public transport sectors. Service operators are also looking at innovative ways in which they can continue to run their services with limited disruption by ensuring that disinfection is taking place more frequently.
The pandemic is also giving service providers an opportunity to form tighter relationships with both communities and municipalities. It is crucial that service operators continue to work alongside governments and regulators during this pandemic to improve the relationships between the parties to ensure they can continue to expand in a post-pandemic world. “Micro-mobility is a greener alternative to public transport, and these services will continue to be taken advantage of during and long after this pandemic,” concludes Sumnall.
These findings are from ABI Research’s Smart Bikes, Scooters, and Pedelecs: Expansion of Two Wheel Shared Transportation Market application analysis report. This report is part of the company’s M2M, IoT, IoE research services, which includes research, data and analyst insights. Based on extensive primary interviews, application analysis reports present in-depth analysis on key market trends and factors for a specific technology.
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