In 2014, we saw the ride-sharing trend reach new heights. Consumers felt comfortable with the mainstream mobile apps (for example, Uber and Lyft), and many new ride-share apps began to gain traction as well. Beyond sharing rides, consumers even began to feel comfortable sharing cars – a trend that’s continuing to gain momentum in 2015. Last week, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to let the supply of car-share vehicles grow to 3,000 – all part of its efforts to keep the city “near the forefront of promoting a low-car lifestyle,” according to The Seattle Times.
What This Means for Brands:
Brands, especially in the automotive space, now have an opportunity to piggyback onto some of the success of this trend. Consumers are already comfortable with the service, so it seems like a seamless and natural way to integrate. Audi recently launched Unite, a car-sharing pilot program (currently only available in Stockholm). The program allows up to five people to share “ownership” of an Audi via a smartphone scheduling app, which allows all owners to reserve the vehicle, see the car’s location and even check fuel levels. Aside from the app, owners receive a beacon to attach to their key ring, which electronically tracks personal usage. These types of services not only speak to younger generations’ strong need for access over ownership, but also their desire for communities of collaboration. The product brands that will see the most success from this trend are the ones that understand the value of shifting sales models to fit existing consumer behaviors. Imagine if, instead of trying to change human behavior, brands are the ones making the shift?