Study: Mobility Ecosystems

Demand seeking supply

The emission-free city is critical for our progress toward a sustainable society – and finding a smart way to link different mobility services will play an essential role in getting there. So why have we been focusing more on utopian visions for these ecosystems rather than implementing practical real-world solutions? We can find answers to these questions and more in Deloitte’s comprehensive study on the findings of the IAA 2021, which carried out a systematic analysis of a number of mobility service providers and ecosystems in Germany and abroad. Read more to find out which factors are instrumental in making these strategies work.

In addition to promoting a shift toward electric vehicles, today’s cities are working to reduce traffic congestion and move closer to their goal of an emission-free future. This has put so-called mobility ecosystems front and center in the climate change debate and the way we think about (sub)urban mobility. A mobility ecosystem is defined as a digital service provider that allows consumers to choose between and book different mobility services from a single source, whether it is sharing services for cars, e-bikes and electric scooters or ride-hailing services. And yet, despite their massive potential, these much-touted mobility ecosystems are in vanishingly small supply. The aim of this Deloitte study on the IAA 2021 is to create more transparency about the provider side of the equation and to learn more about what goes into developing a mobility ecosystem. Our analysis of successful private-sector mobility operators looks at what drives the often very high valuations of these companies and helps us draw conclusions about what might make – or break – their success. 

Two different analytical methods

In this in-depth study, Deloitte carried out a systematic analysis of numerous mobility ecosystems and service providers in Germany and abroad. We took a combined approach in our study, employing both a classic analysis and an explorative method using artificial intelligence to determine how relevant these concepts are, and which factors are decisive for their success. 

Key findings of the study

  1. In terms of investment volume, mobility ecosystems top the list of global start-ups in the broader mobility landscape
    Over the past twelve years, nearly €38 billion has been invested in mobility ecosystems operating in the business-to-business and business-to-consumer sector. That means a quarter of the capital invested in the broader mobility landscape has gone to mobility ecosystems.
  2. Ride-hailing and micromobility operators have the highest valuations 
    With their potential growth rates, relatively low research and development expenses, and medium-sized asset base, micromobility companies have some of the highest valuations among the mobility-as-a-service companies in our analysis.
  3. Alliances fast-track the path to profitability
    Successful mobility ecosystems rely a lot more on alliances than their less successful competitors, while best-practice mobility ecosystems add to that a stronger focus on generating revenue. 
  4. The scope of services on offer is key
    Over the past few years, successful mobility ecosystems have expanded the range of services they offer. Leaner service portfolios make entering the market easier and faster, while gradually increasing the range of services on offer extends customer reach and makes the offering more user-friendly. 
  5. App excellence is a critical success factor
    It is the app that allows users to find transportation on demand and to book fast, flexible mobility services. With the exception of ride-hailing companies, apps are the only direct interface most mobility ecosystems have with the costumer. That is why user-friendly UI and intuitive navigation are so critical. Design, implementation and add-on development should therefore be the top priority for providers, if they want to create a stand-out user experience. 
  6. Successful mobility ecosystems rely on asset-light hardware
    To offer a range of mobility services, mobility ecosystems need to aggregate and/or coordinate multiple vehicle types. Successful mobility systems are increasingly focusing on shifting their fleet to lower value assets, which will increase their chances of turning a profit sooner rather than later. 
  7. Generating added value for the customer is the essential starting point
    What does the consumer need? Answering this question has to be the first priority for companies developing a novel business model. Mobility ecosystems are most successful when they focus their business on generating added value for the customer. Once they have figured out what customers want, they can start thinking about how to meet the demand and how to assemble the value architecture they need.


Opportunities and challenges for companies – a look ahead

Over the next few years, the market will have to satisfy growing demand for flexible mobility and integrated mobility services. This is a huge opportunity for mobility service providers – not only established companies in the automotive sector, but also start-ups and tech companies. The prospects are particularly compelling for automotive suppliers: Investing in the mobility-as-a-service market could play a key role in mitigating the loss effects from the transition to electromobility and the associated drop in demand for conventional cars and their components. This will, however, require companies to radically restructure their businesses and to invest capital. As demand grows for more flexibility and cleaner, less congested cities, we will need a wider range of mobility ecosystems. Companies entering the market should make pragmatic, lean solutions their focus, rather than designing more utopian mobility fantasies that are impossible or unlikely to succeed in practice. 

The complete findings of our study on mobility ecosystems

Click here to download our in-depth study entitled Demand seeking Supply, which provides a wealth of other interesting findings in addition to the seven insights and hypotheses outlined above. We also offer concrete recommendations for start-ups, established automotive industry players and companies from related sectors looking to take action based on the findings of our analysis.

About the study

Our exploratory study design relies on an in-depth analysis of the mobility ecosystem market using a proprietary artificial intelligence-based software created by Deloitte. We looked at more than 60 companies in the global market for mobility services and ecosystems, identifying four of them as best practice companies and comparing them with the less successful competitors in our analysis. Many of these companies publish little to no data and information, but thanks to our systematic gathering and analysis of information, we accumulated more than enough data to help us answer the relevant questions. Our comprehensive analysis covered more than 90,000 media sources consisting of news items, blogs and scientific journals from the past ten years as well as more than 120 million patent publications. Our NLP (natural language processing) tool enabled us to analyze the articles, extract any relevant information and process it for our purposes. By triangulating the different analyses, we were able to develop our main hypotheses from this data. 

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