Widespread ride-sharing and public bike rental may drive consumers away from buying cars

These new mobility services may lead to 23 percent of car owners and 21 percent of potential car owners from buying a car, a Bain & Company survey says.

The prevalence of new mobility services such as ride-sharing and public bike rental might drive some Chinese consumers away from buying a vehicle of their own, a study by Bain & Company shows.

The widespread availability of very easy mobility services would lead to 23 percent of car owners and 21 percent of potential car owners from purchasing a car, according to the study.

“Given newly available transportation options, the formidable traffic congestion and the financial costs of car ownership, more Chinese consumers are turning their backs on buying cars,” said Pierre-Henri Boutot, a Bain & Company partner and a leader in its Performance Improvement practice.

Also under 50 percent of the survey participants now equate owning a car to improving one's social status, the survey said.

The popular bike sharing was used by 73 percent of respondents, and e-hailing followed with 62 percent of participants having used the service, according to the survey.

“Chinese consumers adopt new practices as soon as they are introduced and bring them into the mainstream,” said Raymond Tsang, partner with Bain & Company and a co-author of the report. “With technology integration, government support and the emergence of new options such as B2C car sharing, China’s mobility industry is likely to continue on its upward trajectory.”

Bike sharing has grown more than fivefold and e-hailing fourfold in the last three years, according to Bain’s estimates. 

The survey of nearly 2,000 Chinese consumers revealed that 60 percent of them increased their mobility frequency in the past two years, with new mobility services accounting for a significant part of that increase. 

About 26 percent of respondents said they expect autonomous vehicles to be a significant urban mobility solution within three years, the survey said.

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