Over the course of the pandemic, many of us enjoyed the peacefulness of congestion free roads, revelling in the reduced stress levels brought by working at home. As the world returns to ‘normal’ and people head back to work, there has been much debate and interest around how people’s commuting habits will change post lockdown.
With Covid anxiety still prevalent throughout society, previous research tells us that people are less willing to board public transport and there is increased likelihood of people choosing their own car as their preferred transport choice in order to avoid being in close proximity with others.
However, in recent months we’ve seen a disruption in the public transport landscape with the emergence of a new player on the block – the electric scooter – leaving further question marks around how people may choose to move from A to B in a post-pandemic world.
The e-scooter rental scheme, which has now been introduced to over 30 areas across the country including London, Southampton, Newcastle and Bournemouth, is designed to offer people an alternative way of getting around whilst maintaining socially distancing.
At Consumer Intelligence, we wanted to know whether e-scooters could potentially be the next big opportunity for the insurance industry. We conducted a poll with 1,039 members of the British public to find out how many see themselves scooting into the sunset.
Of those surveyed, over a fifth (23%) said an e-scooter rental scheme was available in their area. However, less than a tenth of respondents (8%) say they have rented one since the scheme was established. Whilst this figure may seem low, it is worth reflecting on the fact that the scheme has predominantly run over the winter months so far and has only just launched in London – the home of the Boris bike – so the adoption rush may be still to come.
More promisingly, 22% said they would consider renting an e-scooter if a scheme were available in their area. 23% said they were not sure – potentially presenting a cohort that could be swayed.
When we asked respondents whether they would consider using e-scooters as a regular mode of transport, 21% said they would use them in good weather, 7% said they would use them to commute, 4% said they would use them all the time. Of the respondents that said they wouldn’t use them, 11% said they would rather use public transport, 24% would prefer to use their own car and a 25% think they’re dangerous.
Currently, privately-owned electric scooters are illegal to use on the public highway in the UK – this includes pavements. It is only legal to ride privately-owned e-scooters on private land, with the landowner's permission. We asked respondents whether they would consider purchasing their own e-scooter if the use of privately-owned e-scooters is made legal. An overwhelming 70% said no, 29% said yes and just 1% said they already own one.
The results of the poll show that adoption is relatively slow, but that could change as people’s commuting needs increase and the rental scheme is introduced to more areas. With the trial launching in London just three days ago, this is most certainly the region to watch. But for now, e-scooters present a small future opportunity for the insurance industry, still with the potential to flourish into something more fruitful in time.
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