Editor’s note: This month I’m kicking off Sector Spotlight, a new post series focusing on a specific sector within the mediaQuant database. Most mediaQuant updates address the media performance of a single brand or trend, possibly including a few comparison or competing entities for context. Beginning this month we’ll profile entire sectors and highlight the standout brands, trends or influencers within it. As always, I welcome all feedback and commentary. I want to showcase the unique ability of the mediaQuant data to provide a category and sector view of the media landscape. While individual brand, trend and influencer media profiles are important (and will continue), a sector analysis provides the media context sorely missing in today’s media assessments.
While both Uber and Lyft battled for the top-2 spots in the car sharing category (more ride sharing then car sharing), there was plenty of news in the sector. But it was the sector heavyweight Uber that continues to lift the sector. Uber is driving a sector leading media rating of 93, unchanged from the prior month. The sector closed just a point shy of its 4-year high of 37. The sector retreated slightly off last month’s gains, with decliners outpacing gainers almost 2-to-1. The the relative strength index (RSI) followed this imbalance and was off January’s .48, closing at .32 this month (the RSI metric is a simple ratio of advances over declines, providing a relative strength indicator for the entire sector).
Lyft was up +1 points, or 1% at 69 rating points for March. News that the company is raising $250 million to help bolster its run at the sector leader, Uber. The brand also faces similar regulatory and legal pressure confronting other car sharing services. The company has made no secret of its effort to catch the more well-funded Uber brand in more cities. Uber maintained its strong media leadership position without a rating change at 93 points amidst continuing regulatory and municipal issues.
Momentum for the Uber brand is +6, a strong number for a brand in its media rating position. The accompanying chart illustrates Uber’s current media position along with the ebbing media momentum for the brand. Uber appears to have hit a media plateau at 93 with no significant momentum since April 2014.
Lyft has been building positive media coverage around its city expansion plans along with focused competitive positioning (versus Uber). President John Zimmer has been making the media rounds in an effort to close the media gap. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Uber continuing to plateau at the envious rating position of 90 while Lyft continues to climb beyond a rating position of 70/80.
Lyft’s media prominence growth has mirrored that of its larger rival. The brand is showing few signs of a declining media momentum and unlike Uber, there does not appear to be any plateau on the near horizon.
There were few stand-out brands in the sector this month as the low RSI value showed the sector pulled less media attention then prior periods. With only 2 new highs (Uber, Stadmobil) and no new lows, the sector needs a catalyst to drive further media gains.
Future media gains may come from another brand in the car sharing sector, such as relative new-comer Getaround, down 2 points at 52. Like other players in the broad car/ride sharing market, Getaround is building some real and sustained media momentum over the prior 14 months but with a different take on the car sharing model. You won’t find “Getaround Drivers” ready and and able to provide a lift to your desired destination. Instead, Getaround “lends” you the vehicle for your intended use. City’s where Getaround operates have tended to embrace the brand since it is less of an alternative to existing taxi services.
Getaround is kind of the open source version of the enterprise rental company efforts to compete in this area. The car sharing segment is dominated by the fleet operators, namely Avis/Budget’s Zipcar, Daimler’s Car2Go , Hertz 24/7 and Enterprise CarShare.
One of the early pioneers in the category, Zipcar is +1 point or 2 percent at 49 rating points. But without significant news to compete with the Uber/Lyft spotlight, the brand is well-off its high of 60 points. Actually, Zipcar is just 2-points shy of its 4-year low (47 points).
So how are the fleet-based brands fairing in the media? The short answer is, not so good.
Hertz 24/7 is scraping the media barrel up +1 at a media rating of 28. Enterprise CarShare is in a similar position at 26 points. Car2Go and Zipcar are doing slightly better, both driving a similar media rating of 49 points for March 2015.
The are a number of niche brands in the car sharing sector, but the media is enamored by the two leaders and their efforts to confuse the traditional taxi business model.
While many of the brands competing for riders, whether through vehicle sharing or ride sharing models, are based our of North America, many are competing for market share overseas. And media attention is definitely following them into their target markets.
The overall sector is on a solid media trajectory that begin in late 2012 and has continued unabated since, closing at 36 points. Media coverage is consistently up across North America, Europe and Asia media markets. All geographies took a slight hit this period, but overall they’re consistently building momentum for the sector.
Visit mediaquant.net for the full media intelligence on the entire Car Sharing Sector.