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How the pandemic affected the COVID-19 car rental industry

How the pandemic affected the COVID-19 car rental industry

Between May and July 2020, AMEX conducted a study compared to the previous year to find out what impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the car rental industry. The study was conducted in the profile markets of European countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

From the results of the study we can see an increase in interest in car rentals compared to other types of public transport, such as taxi, public transport or even air.

Thus, after the lockdown was established, at the beginning of this year, in all European countries, in July the requests for car rentals increased by 40% compared to 2019 vs. those for insured transport ridesharing companies, which had a percentage of 32% or compared to public transport which was chosen by only 27% of the people participating in the study.

Also, if we make a comparison between June and July of this year, from the individual budget allocated for transport, the field of car rental had the largest increase. The car rental segment had an increase of 73% vs. the previous month, public transport increased by 70%, while taxi transport increased by 64%. Air transport is still a niche option, with an increase of only 29%.

If we’re looking at the chosen transport options, we can see a considerable increase in public transport (in a percentage of 60%) in France, but in Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, car rentals occupy leading places with an increase in up to 42% (in Germany).

Comparing the business sector with the leisure sector (individual customers) we can see that car rentals have registered the largest increase. In the case of individual customers, the interest for other means of transport is similar, with small percentage differences, while the business segment has a strong interest in the field of car rental (39% versus 16% for taxi and 13% vs. air transport).

The rental of a car for local transport had an increase in July, registering a percentage of 68% versus 51%, as it registered in June. As for public transport, it increased slightly, from 16% in June to 27% in July.

Speaking further about local transport with a rented car, we can see an increase in the number of rental days in July 2020 (vs. last year) and, implicitly, the allocated budget. Thus, if in the months of May – July 2019 the average rental duration was 5 days, in the same months of this year, the period increased to 8 or even 10 days, recorded, on average, in May.

The increase is observed especially in the small business segment: from July 2019, when the average duration was almost 9 days, to 12 days in July 2020, registering an increase of 44%. The segment of individual customers registered an increase of 27% (from 6.2 to 7.9 days) and the corporate segment had an increase of 47% (from 4.8 days to 7.1 days).

The car rental segment attracted new customers in May – July, most of them being people who do not own a car (we are talking about individual customers). In July, 32% of customers were new customers. This increase places July on the first place compared to the rest of the months of the year, in the number of new customers attracted by this industry (on the studied segment).

Returning to an overview of the types of transport chosen, we see a considerable increase in the field of car rental in July compared to public transport or taxis (and even vs air transport). Thus, if in January 57% of new customers chose to use public transport, 23% used taxis and 20% of the budget was allocated for air transport, in July 30% of customers rushed to rent cars. 28% chose public transport, 20% for taxis and only 21% for air transport.

In contrast, the percentage of old customers, who used car rental services since the beginning of the year, increased from 12% in January to 29% in July.

In conclusion, we can see that renting a car has become a favourite option for a growing number of people.

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