Coming Soon to a Sidewalk Near You

Senior Director, Equity Insights

Over the past year, electric scooters have been popping up in cities not only around the country, but around the globe, enabling tourists and commuters to easily access inexpensive transportation for that ‘last mile’.

The scooters are readily available, and people are using them in droves, driving the largest scooter companies, Bird and Lime, to command valuations in the billions of dollars. In addition, smaller players in the space, such as Skip, Spin, and Scoot, are attempting to take away share from the larger companies as the trend towards scooter use continues to take hold. No doubt other companies will soon jump on the bandwagon.

To delve into the data, we used 1010data Credit Card Reports, which monitor the purchase behavior of millions of US consumers. Since many of these users have been riding these scooters since they became available, we set out to answer questions about which company is skyrocketing and in which cities.

Lime was the first to launch in 2017, but within one year Bird was able to garner 50% of the market, causing Lime and Bird to be neck and neck over the past few months.  While the smaller companies are joining the fray, they are still a very small percent of the overall market.

Trended Share of Sales for Scooters

Also noteworthy is the increase in the number of people utilizing the scooters.  Both companies have experienced significant user growth; however, Bird has proven more successful at rapidly growing their user base.

Indexed Unique User Growth for Scooters

1010data’s Credit Card Reports monitor user-level trends at the national level, but also by city. Even though share is neck and neck at the national level, city-level data reveals where each brand has an advantage. Los Angeles, Austin, and Washington DC are some of the largest markets for Lime, while Bird’s top 5 markets are concentrated in California. Although Los Angeles is a top market for both companies, Bird claims 75% of sales in the sunny city. Meanwhile, Lime owns two-thirds of sales in Miami.

While their growth has been great, Lime and Bird face challenges from city councils that want to limit the number of scooters on the street. Detroit is limiting the companies to just 300 scooters each, while San Francisco has denied Lime and Bird permits. However, it seems Silicon Valley is sticking to its roots and favoring the newest startups, Scoot and Skip. The city of San Francisco is permitting the companies to have a maximum of 625 scooters in the city by mid-October.

It’s still the early innings of the scooter craze, but our bet is that the doctors and hospitals will find the most success.

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