With news that governments are looking to lift coronavirus lockdown measures in some parts of the world, thoughts are turning to what the world will be like in its “new normal.” One thing seems certain though, people are starting to think differently about the products they use, particularly when it comes to travel.
A recent COVID-19 sentiment study conducted by automotive consumer advice group CarGurus found that car sales, in the long term, are unlikely to be affected by the pandemic. However, it also found that people are likely to be far less interested in using ride-share services like Uber and Lyft.
Ride-share apps should be concerned
During April, CarGurus surveyed 722 US car buyers and found that 79% of them have decided to delay their car purchase as a result of the pandemic. That said, most still expect to buy their new vehicle this year.
It’s a different story for ride-sharing services though. Some 39% of those surveyed that have previously used the services, said they will reduce their use or stop using them entirely.
This might not be the majority, but if more than a third of users don’t ever go back to using Uber for example, that’s going to have a noticeable impact on the company’s bottom line. It’s a significant drop in demand.
That said, 18% of respondents did say they would use ride-sharing apps more. The rest (43%) said they’d continue using them the same amount.
Less contact the better
The survey also showed that car buyers are starting to think about how Covid-19 affects the actual process of purchasing a car.
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, 32% of survey respondents were open to the idea of buying their car online. However, since Covid-19, this figure has jumped to 61%. In fact, most (66%) of those that say they’re going to buy another car this year, say they would prefer to use more contactless methods.
Things will change
Despite most respondents believing that normal economic activity will resume within the next six months, the future of the mobility and transport industry is still uncertain.
Cities around the world have witnessed drops in pollution as there are fewer cars on the roads. In the UK, this has been enough to get drivers thinking about buying an EV for their next vehicle.
A significant proportion of manufacturers around the world took the decision to down tools and close their factories. In some cases they were forced to after being classified as nonessential business. Luckily for them, in the long term it doesn’t seem like they will be affected too much.
Ride-share companies like Uber, Lyft, and Grab have all modified or suspended their businesses in an attempt to help stop the spread of coronavirus. In some cases, demand has dropped to the point that these services aren’t needed right now.
It’s impossible to say for certain what will happen after lockdown measures are lifted, but given this insight, it’s likely that there will be fewer Ubers and Lyfts on the roads and these companies will be forced to rethink how they offer their business.
In many cases, it’s likely that we’ll see tighter rules on hygiene and cleaning, and even partitions between driver and passenger as some companies have already been doing.
But also, spare a thought for the gig-workers that’ll no doubt be affected too.
Published April 28, 2020 — 12:51 UTC