Many consumers are foregoing car ownership in favor of using ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft, a recent study has found.
The poll, conducted by Reuters earlier this year, indicated that nearly a quarter of Americans had sold or traded in a vehicle in the past 12 months. Many of those consumers bought another vehicle after selling, however, 9 percent decided they would rely on apps like Uber and Lyft as their only means of getting around.
That may not seem like a very significant amount of people, but the findings could be representative of a trend that is beginning to form. The same study found that around 9 percent of those polled planned on ditching their car in favor of using ride-hailing apps in the next 12 months. It also revealed that a significant 39 percent of Americans have used ride-sharing services, with 27 percent of that group using such apps several times per week.
Automakers have recognized this change and are beginning to closely align themselves with ride-sharing services. General Motors purchased a 9 percent stake in Lyft last year and also operates its own car sharing service, Maven. Similarly, many car companies are making it a priority to develop autonomous vehicle technology, with Chrysler having entered a partnership with Google’s self-driving car company, Waymo, for example.
While it does seem as though car-sharing and ride-hailing apps could take a bite out of auto sales, it’s much too early to tell what kind of impact this may have on the industry. Because this was the first poll of its kind conducted by Reuters, it was impossible to gauge whether or not the trend of people selling their cars in favor of ride-hailing apps was accelerating or on the decline. It also didn’t factor in a number of cars an Uber or Lyft driver may purchase in their lifetime, which could offset the decline in consumer car ownership to a degree.