Carsharing has been around since the 1990s, but, not surprisingly, it has seen rapid growth ever since the economy started to tank back in 2008. The increasingly popular short-term car rental solution is a great tool for people in large, urban cities, and according to a study from Colorado-based Navigant Research, the number of carshare participants will continue to climb from today's 2.3-million users to more than 12 million by the end of the decade.

With 810,000 members, ZipCar is perhaps the globe's biggest and most well-known carshare company, but it has its competitors, and we wouldn't be surprised to see more companies join the fray with the expected increase also bringing the potential for more profit. The study goes on to predict that carsharing revenues will swell from $1 billion this year to around $6.3 billion by 2020. Navigant Research's press release for its findings is posted below.
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Carsharing Services Will Surpass 12 Million Members Worldwide by 2020
August 22, 2013

As an alternative or a supplement to personal vehicle ownership, carsharing provides drivers with convenient and affordable access to a range of vehicles on an hourly or daily basis. Enjoying rapid growth since the 1990s, the carsharing market has grown from an informal network of small companies and organizations to a market driven by major multinational corporations. According to a new report from Navigant Research, worldwide membership in carsharing programs will grow from 2.3 million in 2013 to more than 12 million by 2020.

"Carsharing offers members the ability to enjoy mobility without the expense and hassle of owning a car, or the need to frequently rent a vehicle from a traditional car rental agency," says Lisa Jerram, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. "In addition, carsharing is viewed by both public and private entities as a powerful tool to reduce urban congestion and lower emissions of greenhouse gases."

The growth of the carsharing market, however, will continue to be limited by the perceived inconvenience of not privately owning a vehicle. Additionally, consumer attitudes about cars as symbols of status, success, privacy, and freedom persist. Most importantly, according to the report, this market is constrained by the ability of carsharing companies to achieve sufficient revenue per vehicle in order to create a sustainable, profitable business.

The report, "Carsharing Programs", examines the evolution of carsharing services in regions around the world. The study examines the key drivers and barriers to continued expansion, as well as the societal benefits of carsharing. Market forecasts for vehicle demand due to carsharing programs, reduced personal vehicle acquisition, and revenue from carsharing services by region extend through 2020. The report also reviews market segmentation and key logistical considerations, and provides short profiles of the top companies involved in the carsharing industry. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

* The information contained in this press release concerning the report, "Carsharing Programs," is a summary and reflects Navigant Research's current expectations based on market data and trend analysis. Market predictions and expectations are inherently uncertain and actual results may differ materially from those contained in this press release or the report. Please refer to the full report for a complete understanding of the assumptions underlying the report's conclusions and the methodologies used to create the report. Neither Navigant Research nor Navigant undertakes any obligation to update any of the information contained in this press release or the report.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      TsarBomba
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well, to be rational about it, i think the idea is attractive for a number of reasons. None of which have anything to do with the amount of income or "hard work" one claims to substantiate. If you work in an urban area, these programs are very useful. In a lot of cities parking is incredibly expensive, not to mention hard-to-find. It is also a drain on the wallet to lease or buy a vehicle. They depreciate quickly, cost $$$ to maintain, and if used only occasionally make little financial sense. I'd personally rather save my $$$ for the future. I understand that there might be the antiquated notion of a car used as a symbol of ones personal wealth and success, but i think that there are a lot of us who find this idea to be somewhat nonsensical and antiquated. If you work in an urban hub, it makes little sense to own a car for the few weekends you decide to travel outside of it. And when you do, it usually involves flying or car rentals anyways. I think it is great to have options like this for those who see the automobile as a tool and not necessarily a reflection of ones personal status. I don't use this myself, but would if i lived in an urban environment. I love cars, but i don't think ownership is for everyone - this is a good alternative for a set of the population that does not want to fret over and maintain personal transportation.
        icemilkcoffee
        • 1 Year Ago
        @TsarBomba
        Not having parking is the only valid reason why anyone would want a zip-car. But then you would have to be an idiot to rent an apartment with no parking.
          mycommentemail
          • 1 Year Ago
          @icemilkcoffee
          Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Let me see... I live in an awesome and exciting city that has excellent public transit and bad traffic congestion. I can get around faster, spending less money and with less irritation without a car. I don't pay for parking, insurance, gas, registration, repairs, or tickets. For those times when I need a car (leaving the city or shopping at Ikea or the like) I can rent one (or join zip car). But I'm an idiot because I rent an apartment without a parking space. Check.
        Chris
        • 1 Year Ago
        @TsarBomba
        I agree with a lot of what you are saying, however, I wouldn't go so far as to call the notion of a car being a symbol of one's personal wealth and success "antiquated". If it were then I don't think BMWs, Audis, and MBs would sell the way they do. I'm not knocking them, just saying that a lot of people buy them for that reason. I also disagree that this has nothing to do with income. Washington, DC is a prime example of what I am talking about. You have a city that is located in the most crowded part of the country, where public transportation is plentiful, and yet when I was there in August of 2008, there was tons of people driving around in really expensive cars. I remember Philadelphia being like that too, but to a much lesser extent. This rule may not apply to everyone, but in general, the more money people have, the more they spend. It's the reason why 75% of those pro athletes you hear about making millions a year end up having to file for bankruptcy at some point after their careers are over, or the reason why most people who win the lottery end up blowing through it all in a few years.
          TsarBomba
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Chris
          Yea, there will always be a good portion of the constituency that will buy for prestige, others simply for the performance and/or luxury belonging to those brands. I'd bet that in the future, we might see subscription services like zip car that rent out more expensive makes and model, which could further dilute the 'prestige' of ownership. There are trends showing that many of the world's youth don't hold the same affection toward expensive vehicles or even owning one for that matter. As we move toward a future of autonomous vehicles and improved commuter infrastructure, i think that our ideals toward the automobile will change, but who knows...
          Vlad
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Chris
          These exact luxury brands see the trend toward shared consumption very clearly. Look up Car2Go, and who owns it. BMW is coming up with a similar program.
          Chris
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Chris
          I have a hard time believing that those luxury automakers would just sit back and let something that might dilute their brand take over. It's the same reason Boar's head won't allow grocery stores to put EBT stickers on their products because feel that doing so would dilute their high end brand image. As for today's youth not holding the same affection toward expensive automobiles? That's perfectly understandable, and I can think of many contributing factors. For one thing, they came up in a faltering economy, and watching their parents having to cut back during tougher times. Technology I am sure has something to do with that as well. Congestion and fuel prices in many places make driving flat out suck, particularly in more urban areas. With many young adults in debt, having trouble finding decent work, and living at home with their parents, it's understandable why a fancy new luxury car is not at the one of their top priorities.
      Chris
      • 1 Year Ago
      The first sentence leaves me a little skeptical. I mean, once the economy finally gets back on track, will we still see this trend? The fact of the matter is is that the more disposable income people have, the more they spend, and that includes on items such as automobiles. When the economy tanked, and unemployment, feelings of uncertainty, and gas prices skyrocketed, suddenly people started looking for ways to tighten their belts. Some of those ways included hanging on to their old car a few more years, downsizing to something more economical, driving less, or all of the above, so I can't help but wonder how much all of that is affecting this trend. On the other hand, I can see some validity to this when considering the fact that more folks are choosing to live in more urban areas these days where a car is not as much of a necessity. With all of that said, it's kind of awash for me because there are a lot of determining factors at play here, and I don't know profound an effect the economy the economy is having on all of these trends.
        Vlad
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Chris
        Economy got back on track. Our GDP was $15.7 trillion in 2012 vs $14.2 in 2008, the year before the crisis. Now, since we all are such suckers, and so willing to participate in the race to the bottom, that less of us produced that record amount of goods and services, working more than ever for less money than ever. While we keep doing it, there is no hope that economy doing better will translate into you _feeling_ that it is doing better.
      Feurig
      • 1 Year Ago
      Zipcar is only good depending on where you live. Sometimes in the long run it's cheaper to have your own car than to use Zipcar since zipcar can easily rack up like $60 for a day's use of errands (5 hours for a lot of cars). So, for 5 times a month, you're looking at $300 a month on Zipcar. The only upside is you don't pay for insurance or gas, but it's not a great deal by far.
        mycommentemail
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Feurig
        yeah, their pricing model has gotten a lot worse over the years. It still works for me because I don't use it like you described, but I know a lot of my friends have dropped it for this reason.
      dohc73
      • 1 Year Ago
      Great, now if they can only maintain their cars in between customer uses and keep them clean that'd be swell. Matching tires that are properly inflated please, oh and making sure your premium models, like the Audi and BMWs don't have mechanical issues that they're commonly known to have and do. PS: Hertz is on your tale with the same program and a much better network with newer, cleaner cars. Just say'n.
      mikeybyte1
      • 1 Year Ago
      This isn't just for those on a tight budget. A friend of mine moved into NYC from the suburbs and initially was paying for a parking spot for his leased Mercedes. He would take the subway to work, and liked his car for weekends when he would want to get away. But eventually he realized what a massive expense it was - for the lease, insurance, and parking. He could easily afford it, but why? So he got rid of it all and has been using ZipCar on those few times a month he needs one. He has no regrets.
      FuelToTheFire
      • 1 Year Ago
      Major mistake in the article. "The increasingly popular short-term car rental solution is a great tool for people in large, urban cities." I'm not sure what planet this author lives on.Urban people in major cities have NO use for this whatsoever People in cities don't have cars:they are leeches who live off the government and expect taxpayers to pay for all of their expenses. And our totalitarian government lays out the red carpet for these leeches by providing them something something which was originally a COMMUNIST idea: public transportation. These leeches don't even need to be responsible for their own means of transport, but hey: they get to have the SAME PRIVILEGES as us hardworking taxpayers because the government thinks it's "unfair" that they actually go out and earn money for themselves, and eventually buy themselves their OWN means of transportation. It gets my blood boiling that people are so uneducated about where these freebies come from. Jeffrey Ross, the author, is no different. Back on topic, these car sharing programs are highly unethical. They encourage staying on welfare. For those of you who think that I'm just some nutcase anarchist conspiracy theorist, think from the viewpoint of a welfare leech. The only way he can have the same PRIVILEGE as us taxpayers, the PRIVILEGE of transportation, is to actually go out and make a living for himself, which of course, he's too lazy to do. Along comes along an "innovative new transportation solution"-car sharing! Since the overall cost is much lower, the leech can easily handle the payments through the checks the government gives him. The disadvantage of not having any access to transportation, including car-sharing programs and public transportation like buses, would be enough to turn many would-be welfare leeches into productive citizens. But because these freebies exist, these leeches are not given an incentive to work.
        mycommentemail
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        OMG this is SO Bat $h!t insane its awesome! Lemme try, lemme try! Umm. Ok. I get so damn mad about pinko commie atheists! Umm... Lousy urban dwellers with their super cheap Manhattan rents. It makes my blood do loop-de-loops and spinning cartwheels thinking about how they just sit around at their "office" waiting for the gubment to "give them money". (Ok: wall street kinda fits the description I guess). Using this statistic I just made up you can see that the unemployment rate in the city is way higher than it is here in crazytown: Manhattan: 0% employment. Insane imaginary not city: 10 Kajillion percent employment. See? I used logic and my reel good math. Ok. Um... Unethical godless car sharing. Cuz, um, cheap things mean the lazy 47% can keep ******* off the teat of real American heros. Out here in insanelyville we only drive Mercedes. Because the only way to be a true patriot is to spend as much money for everything you do as possible. I guess that is why you would never find an expensive store in the city. My nutcase friends and I never try to save money because we are ethical and good and not, um. Obama. And if you want to spend less on a car than, say... an arbitrary amount that I can define for you later... then you are a socialist even though I don't know what that means. Stupid free car sharing that costs money! Now 'scuse me while I go burn some money because only by burning money do I have an incentive to work.
          mycommentemail
          • 1 Year Ago
          @mycommentemail
          Yeah, and I'm real worried about them. Hopefully whatever has befallen you had not yet had time to damage their minds as well. Must be something local there, because I know lots of people who live in the suburbs who aren't addle brained.
          FuelToTheFire
          • 1 Year Ago
          @mycommentemail
          All the respectable people from New York (mostly Manhattan) now live here in suburban New Jersey.
        Chris
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        There may be folks in inner cities that one could call "leeches", however, there are also a lot of honest hardworking, and well off people who are willing to pay higher taxes and rent to live in those places. For further proof, just look at all of the revitalization that is taking place in our nation's cities. Those "leeches" you speak of could never afford to live in those expensive lofts popping up in downtowns all over the place.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      George Krpan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Car sharing is a great idea. Another promising idea is the ultra cheap car. The Elio will be $6800, new, and it is legally a motorcycle so liability insurance should be very low. The Elio weighs 800lbs. The insurance on the last motorcycle that I had was around $100 A YEAR. My current car is paid for and costs $1500 a year for full coverage. I reckon I can have a Elio sitting in my garage for <$200/year insurance and <$100 DMV fees. Cheap!
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