The rise of ride-hailing companies Uber and Didi Chuxing, and the development of semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles are bringing about a new technology and transportation market called shared mobility.
Of course, shared mobility has existed, in some sense, for quite a while in the form of public transportation systems and taxi services, but it's also starting to add new, more individual elements through car-as-a-service features (like ride-hailing services through Uber or car-sharing apps).
And it's this new shared mobility market that's piqued the interest of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and other tech companies, and could be a potentially lucrative market for Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ:NXPI), and many others.
So let's take a look at nine facts and predictions showing why shared mobility could be such a big deal for these companies:
1. The shared mobility market could be worth $2.6 trillion by 2030
A recent investor note by Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty estimated that the entire shared mobility market will be worth $2.6 trillion just 14 years from now. That may seem like a long way away, but consider that this means tech and automotive companies will have to develop strategies right now so that they can dominate the market later.
2. Shared mobility might be Apple's next biggest revenue driver (seriously)
Huberty believes Apple could seriously benefit by using its rumored vehicle as a car-as-a-service feature. Instead of selling the car outright, Apple would have a platform or system to rent out the vehicle on an ongoing basis. She believes Apple could ultimately take 16% of the shared mobility market -- bringing in $400 billion for the company -- by 2030.
3. China could be a major shared mobility market
China-based Didi Chuxing just took $600 million from China's largest state-owed insurance company, China Life Insurance, in a new round of investor funding. Didi already offers taxi hailing, private car hailing, bus tickets, and ridesharing services in 400 cities across China. The country is already the largest automotive market, and shared mobility is a key ingredient in reducing traffic in its heavily populated cities. And Apple thinks this market is booming too. The company handed $1 billion to Didi Chuxing last month to help expand its ride-hailing business.
4. Uber could be a big winner too
Uber just won a $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, in part to expand further into China. The company has already ordered 100,000 autonomous vehicles from Mercedes-Benz (to be delivered at a later date). Uber could take a large portion of the shared mobility market if it can successfully pair its ride-hailing service with autonomous vehicles.
5. Driverless cars are making shared mobility even more plausible
IHS Automotive expects 10% of all light vehicles sold to be fully autonomous by 2035 and driverless car ubiquity to come sometime around 2050. With more cars on the road that can drive themselves, many consumers may be more inclined to simply rent cars as a service rather than buy them.
And that's good news for NXP Semiconductors, which recently released an off-the-shelf autonomous system that carmakers can use on existing vehicles. NXP's BlueBox comes with sensors, cameras, software, and computer hardware to help carmakers transition to driverless autos. NXP is already the No. 1 automotive semiconductor manufacturer and is a leader in advanced driver assistance systems, and BlueBox could help automakers easily transition into shared mobility.
6. Tesla is well-positioned for this market as well
Before Uber made its deal to buy Mercedes autonomous vehicles, it offered to buy 500,000 of Tesla's cars in 2020, if they were fully autonomous. Tesla didn't take Uber up on the offer, but that doesn't mean the electric-car maker won't have similar opportunities down the road.
The company already has some of the most advanced semi-autonomous vehicles on the market, and plans on releasing a fully autonomous car in just a few years. If it continues on this path, Tesla could start selling some of its vehicles to shared mobility companies, or even offer a shared mobility service of its own.
7. Some carmakers are already investing in this
BMW (NASDAQOTH:BAMXF) has already acknowledged that selling vehicles directly to consumers isn't the only way it wants to approach the transportation sector. In a PricewaterhouseCoopers report put out last year, the CEO of BMW's DriveNow, which provides car-sharing services in Europe, said, "We used to be the provider of premium cars and now we're the provider of premium mobility services as well as premium cars." BMW, whose DriveNow and ReachNow programs allow people rent out its vehicles, is not the only auto company with such services. Ford has a similar program as well.
8. Car sharing is already on the rise
Car sharing, part of shared mobility, is on the rise, with 8% of the U.S. population having already used some form of it. Navigant Research estimates that global car sharing will hit 23.4 million users by 2024. And a report by McKinsey predicts that one out of every 10 cars will be a shared vehicle by 2030, and one out of every three vehicles will be shared by 2050.
9. Shared mobility will help drive automotive revenues
While automakers may see car sales slow a bit because of shared mobility, that doesn't necessarily mean they'll forfeit revenues. A McKinsey report estimates that car sales will continue to grow at about 2% per year, and shared mobility and data connectivity services could add $1.5 trillion in revenue to the automotive industry by 2030. Part of the reason sales will continue to grow is that shared vehicles will likely be used more often, wear down faster, and have to be replaced more frequently than current vehicles.
It's clear that tech companies and automakers alike have much to look forward to as shared mobility grows. The companies above are making big investments in the potentially lucrative market -- and investors could ultimately benefit.