Mobility, measured: The state of urban mobility apps in 2019

James Haslam

Oct 16, 2019

The sharing economy is booming, projected to be worth $335 billion in 2025. Quicker than ever, we're shifting to the world of a shared economy that started with the likes of Airbnb and now encompasses everything, including mobility services such as scooters, bikes and cars. As the market grows, so does the choice. So, is an essential service thriving, or are mobility apps suffering under the spread of competition.

In Adjust’s App Trends report, we found that mobility apps (then “RRT” apps, which includes rideshare apps, taxis and scooter services, among others) had some of the highest Growth Scores of any app, but the lowest retention. That trend has only become more extreme in 2019, suggesting that the increase in services drives down user loyalty.

In 2018, the Growth Score for Mobility apps reached 17.63, the second-highest of any app category (beaten only by Mid-core Games). In 2019, that trend continued, as Mobility app Growth Scores continue to rocket. While users in South America and Asia demonstrate healthy figures, it’s U.S. users that install these apps most of all. The founding of the sharing economy — with over 80% of the population living in “urban areas” — is increasingly relying on Mobility apps to get around. Seasonality also plays a factor, as Summer weather brings an upswing in use (particularly for bikes and scooters). Certainly, warmer climates benefit Mobility apps the most (so long as it’s not too hot — as we see, usage declines in the Middle East from March).

App users are just as likely to hop off the app experience once they’re done with it, with the category experiencing relatively high churn. Mobility apps are suited to near-daily use, but Adjust data shows that in most countries, less than 10% of users return to the app after a week of use. Beyond Day 10 churn stabilizes, but the loss of around 80% of users between the day of install and day after are sure to bother marketers.

This coincides with companies beginning to think more about the long term. Micro mobility platform Bird’s CEO and founder Travis VanderZanden noted that the days of growth without maintaining user loyalty are over: “Gone are the days when top-line growth was the leading KPI for emerging companies. Positive unit economics is the new goal line.” Many companies in the space will follow suit, focusing not just on user acquisition, but on the metrics that follow.

Hopping on a scooter is easy, and your app experience should aim to feel the same way. With competition in the space high, a personalized welcome message can help do the trick. If your app is languishing without use but remains installed, you might also consider offering a free ride, or another special offer, to activate the user.

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