Understanding the trends of the mobility market

Why this market could grow exponentially in the coming years

July 12, 2023

Understanding the trends of the mobility market

Why this market could grow exponentially in the coming years

July 24, 2023

RSVP here

This event is sold out.

From the electric rush of Beijing to the bike-friendly lanes of Amsterdam, the modes of urban transport are shifting at a rapid pace. Enter the era of micro mobility - a small-scale, energy-efficient transportation solution paving the way for a future that's less reliant on fossil fuels. 

While the idea isn’t new, the industry has matured and the world is now readier than ever to make space for this market.

From e-bikes to e-scooters, these agile vehicles are gaining traction in markets across the globe. Yet, are we on the brink of a significant growth spurt in this market? In this article, we delve into the global trends shaping the micro mobility landscape and explore why this market could grow 10x in the coming years. 

We will dissect the opportunities and challenges faced by micro mobility pioneers, and how daring investors can find their niche in this burgeoning industry. 

Strap in as we take you on a journey through the complex yet promising world of micro mobility, proving it's more than just a passing trend, but rather a global revolution in the way we perceive urban transportation.

What are the Trends and Opportunities?

Micro mobility presents a global opportunity, but some regions show more promise than others. 

China leads the world in the adoption of e-bikes domiciling over two-thirds of the world's e-bikes. In some Chinese cities, this account represents as much as 40% of all trips taken. 

In Europe, e-bikes have become an appealing alternative to traditional bikes and are increasingly popular in countries like Germany and France. 

In the United States, the market has been growing, particularly in urban areas, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City. 

The growth potential is immense, as the demand for sustainable and efficient transportation options continues to increase.

“E-bike ownership is at 1.2 per household in Kunming - China”

Most western cities are very far from that number, it goes to show the growth potential of the market.

Another significant trend in the micro mobility market is the rise of electric scooters. These vehicles are becoming increasingly popular in many cities around the world, and they offer a convenient and affordable way to get around. 

Electric scooters are particularly popular among younger people, who are looking for a more sustainable and fun way to travel. As the technology behind electric scooters continues to improve, we can expect to see even more growth in this area in the coming years.

McKinsey also published a study on the future of micro mobility suggesting increases in the amount of micro mobility trips. The study focuses on the German city Munich, but the study’s result suggests a general trend to the upside in the number of micro mobility trips.

The micro mobility market is a rapidly growing industry that offers a more sustainable and affordable alternative to traditional transportation methods. 

“23 % of free-floating e-scooter trips are intermodal, meaning they combine the use of a scooter with that of another transportation mode: 66% public transportation and 19% walking”

With the rise of ride-sharing services and the increasing demand for eco-friendly transportation options, the micro mobility market is expected to continue growing in the coming years. 

As more people start using micro mobility vehicles, we can expect to see a significant increase in the demand for infrastructure to support them, which will create new opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs.

The 4 types of Micro Mobility Archetypes

  1. The Mega Cities

Dense by nature, these monster cities create a promising environment for micro mobility solutions. Having both large amounts of people, and lots of movement, they are a prime target for micro mobility solutions trying to experiment with their product.

Such cities bring their own set of challenges though, with already highly developed transportation systems, users expect a top notch service that is both efficient, more convenient, and cheaper than already existing alternatives.

  1. The Car-Centrics

Mostly american cities, such architectures rely on large roads and lack convenient transportation for shorter distances. Companies focusing on this market will aim at providing last mile transportation options like electric scooters.

Issue is most of these cities are hostile to micro mobility. Companies have to find smart ways of promoting their products, and try to persuade users to ditch their cars for their product. 

As such cities are built around cars, users are forced to use their cars, which reinforces the usefulness of cars in the city. Acting as a reinforcement loop. New micro mobility solutions start the race with a huge disadvantage, not being able to leverage the existing car infrastructure.

  1. The Bike Centered Cities

Most of these are located in European countries, where the land is mostly flat and adapted to pedestrians. Imagine large sidewalks and plenty of crosswalks. Cars become a secondary option because the architecture of the city doesn’t favor them.

Although developing a product in this environment might be easier because the infrastructure is already built, micro mobility solutions wanting to break out in such cities might have a hard time rivaling the cost, convenience, or ease of use of existing bikes.

  1. Small Scale Cities

Smaller cities in general might be easier to launch micro mobility solutions because they can be easily supervised. These also provide a sort of test environment. 

Naturally having small distances between areas, micro mobility products are a perfect fit for this environment. 

With less people living in the city, this might also mean that entrepreneurs will have a hard time making a profit on their product.

Understanding the Current State of Electric Scooters

Electric scooters, or e-scooters, are one of the most popular and controversial forms of micro mobility in urban areas. 

These small, lightweight, and electric-powered vehicles offer a convenient and fun way to get around the city, reduce traffic congestion, and lower carbon emissions. 

However, they also pose challenges for safety, regulation, and infrastructure. 

Such solutions have spread in almost all large and dense cities around the world in the past few years, sometimes welcomed, sometimes rejected. Their arrival has been two faced.

On one hand the electric scooter company Lime has raised $500 million in the past year and has gotten their first profitable year. Users report a great ease of use and convenient mode of transportation throughout all types of populations.

I find it pleasant. I often ride a scooter instead of the metro, even if it takes longer, it’s pleasant.”
  • Julia, 35 y/o, frequent user in Paris

On the other hand, large cities and their population have started rejecting such solutions. Paris has started banning scooters from its streets through a popular vote in April ‘23. Raising concerns about public safety and clutter in the streets, despite the situation getting better after an initial warning from the city.

The situation does showcase an opportunity for investors, as with most new technologies it gets rejected at first, leaving only the most daring ones to benefit from it. Since users actually report high levels of satisfaction, the real problem is in the selling and marketing of the solution. 

How to Find your Place in this Environment?

Let’s take a look at a successful startup in the sector and how they’ve leveraged the market conditions to launch their idea.

Sharelock wanted to solve the problem of bike theft to promote the use of zero emission transport solutions.

Looking at the European market, and more specifically the French market, large cities are equipped with lots of pillars like the one in the image below.


Aiming to make use of this existing infrastructure they conceived locks that attach to such pillars. This means that deployment of their product is relatively easy. 

Having their smart locks means they can acquire tons of data from real world users and their behaviors. Along with their lock, they decided to launch an insurance business that accompanies both users and subscribers that have their own locks.

What do Investors Have to Keep in mind?

Like any investment, there are risks to investing in the micro mobility industry. Investors must consider regulatory and legal hurdles, market saturation, competition, technological disruption and obsolescence.

Regulatory and Legal Hurdles

Micro mobility is a relatively new industry, and as such, it faces regulatory and legal hurdles like the ban that happened in Paris recently. 

The emergence of new technologies and the sharing economy presents multiple challenges such as the classification of electric bicycles, licensing, and permits for operators. 

Understanding local and national regulations and compliance is crucial before making any investment in the market.

Market Saturation and Competition

Market saturation and competition pose risks to the success of investing in micro mobility. 

The micro mobility market is continually growing and attracting new players, leading to a highly competitive market. 

Investors must assess the level of competition before investing. The development of regulations and legislation has the potential to create barriers to entry or exit for players in the micro mobility market.

Do keep in mind though that the global market for micro mobility is  set to keep growing in the next decade.

Study from spherical insights

Technological Disruptions and Obsolescence

Another risk to investing in micro mobility is the possibility of technological disruptions leading to product obsolescence. 

Micro mobility technologies involve hardware, software, and connectivity solutions. As technology progresses at an increasing rate, investing in hardware or software without a future upgrade plan runs the risk of product obsolescence. 

Investing in companies that value research and development and promote technological progress could minimize these risks.

What is the Environmental and Social Impact of Micro Mobility?

The environmental and social impact of micro mobility presents a significant opportunity for investors. Micro mobility offers a greener, healthier, and more efficient alternative to traditional transportation solutions.

Reducing Carbon Emissions and Congestion

One of the most significant advantages of micro mobility is its ability to reduce carbon emissions. 

As urban areas continue to experience significant growth, the prevalence of greenhouse gas emissions from traditional transportation increases. 

Micro mobility presents an attractive alternative that can help reduce carbon emissions and congestion in cities. 

Investors looking for environmentally-friendly opportunities may consider investing in micro-mobility.

Promoting Healthier and Active Lifestyles

Micro mobility can also improve public health by promoting active lifestyles. 

As a society, we are becoming increasingly sedentary, leading to poor health outcomes. 

Micro mobility solutions can provide an easy and enjoyable mode for people to exercise, get fresh air, and stay active while traveling. 

Additionally, some micro mobility manufacturers are promoting healthier lifestyles through partnerships with gyms or offering bundled commute insurance, which acts as a motivator for people to choose the electric scooter or bike over their gas-fueled equivalent.

Addressing Equity and Accessibility Concerns

Micro mobility can help address equity and accessibility concerns by providing affordable and accessible transportation solutions to underprivileged communities. 

Equitable access to transportation solutions can provide individuals with mobility options and improve economic opportunities by enlarging their mobility network.

Let's make it happen

Spill the beans about your problem, challenge, intuition... and we'll bring a solution to life at lightning speed.