The size of the urban population and the number of licensed drivers will determine the growth of car sharing in Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific.
In Europe, some 81 million people will be living in large urban areas in 2021, 46 million of whom will have a valid driver’s license. About 14 million people will be registered with a car-sharing service and 1.4 million of them will be heavy users who take multiple trips per month. The North American urban population is expected to reach 50 million by 2021; 31 million people will be licensed drivers, of whom 6 million will be registered users of a car-sharing service. Some 600,000 people will be heavy users. Asia-Pacific’s urban population will grow to 253 million, and there will be 75 million licensed drivers. Roughly 15 million will be registered with sharing services, and 1.5 million will use them for multiple monthly trips. (See Exhibit 4.)
All these patrons of car-sharing services will generate global revenues of €4.7 billion in 2021, with the bulk of revenues—€3.2 billion—coming from light users who need a car only for occasional trips. Europe will be the biggest revenue-generating region, throwing off €2.1 billion, followed by Asia-Pacific, which will account for €1.5 billion, and North America, with €1.1 billion.
Mobility service providers are trying to calculate how large their fleets will have to be to provide adequate coverage to these drivers at a profit. Several inputs go into their calculation: the number of minutes booked per month, the maximum utilization rate (calculated as a percentage of the entire fleet), and the frequency with which vehicles are replaced. According to our evolution scenario, some 35 million users will book some 1.5 billion minutes of driving time each month by 2021, and each car will run at a utilization rate of 15%, which allows time for fueling, maintenance, and repositioning. Service providers will maintain what may sound like a lower-than-expected usage rate in order to ensure that vehicles are available during peak periods. Cars will be replaced every 12 months. At those rates, sales into global car fleets would reach 246,000 in 2021, with the global fleet comprising 228,000 cars—89,000 in Europe, 98,000 in Asia-Pacific, and 41,000 in North America.