Market Research Logo

Car Rentals - US - June 2015

Car Rentals - US - June 2015

"Car rental revenues have been increasing steadily and are expected to continue growing through 2020 as consolidation in the market drives up prices and as travel participation/expenditures rise. New technologies and service model adjustments should help companies maintain sales growth, as should improved loyalty offerings and more streamlined rental processes. There’s a noteworthy desire among many consumers to rent from companies that use innovative technologies, promote convenience, offer transparent pricing models, and meet their unique, individual needs. Green vehicles and luxury offerings are also increasingly capturing the interest of renters, who want to simultaneously boost their perception of themselves while feeling like they are saving some money."

- Lindsey Rogers, Consumer Research Analyst

This report discusses the following key topics:

Relatively few are members of a car rental loyalty program
Renters are not confident in their choices
Pain points lead to dissatisfied customers


OVERVIEW
What you need to know
Definition
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Figure 1: Total US car rental revenues and fan chart forecast ($ billions), at current prices, 2010-20
The issues
Figure 2: Membership in a car rental loyalty program, March 2015
Figure 3: Attitudes toward earning rewards, finding deals, and obtaining value, March 2015
Figure 4: Top five car rental pain points, by car rental loyalty program membership, March 2015
The opportunities
Figure 5: Number of car-sharing members in the US, 2009-14
Figure 6: Top five most desired loyalty rewards, by car loyalty program membership, March 2015
Figure 7: Best tactics for prompting engagement with travel loyalty programs, March 2015
Figure 8: Attitudes toward the excitement of renting a car, March 2015
What it means
THE MARKET
What you need to know
Steady growth in the car rental market expected to continue
Increases in travel, zero-car households should help drive market
Market size and forecast
Steady revenue growth expected within car rental industry
Figure 9: Total US car rental revenues and fan chart forecast ($ billions), at current prices, 2010-20
Figure 10: Total US car rental revenues and forecast ($ billions), at current prices, 2010-20
Market perspective
Growth in transportation sector exceeds all others
Figure 11: Total US transportation market value ($ billions), 2009-14
Figure 12: Value sales for transportation, at current and inflation-adjusted prices, 2009-19
Market factors
US travel expenditures continue to rise
Figure 13: US travel expenditures and forecast (in $ billions), 2008-17
Travelers fly in record numbers in 2014
Figure 14: Passengers on all scheduled US-based (millions), domestic and international, 2003-14
Travel sentiment continues trending up
Figure 15: Traveler sentiment index, March 2007-February 2015
Gas prices remain relatively low
Figure 16: US all-grades, all-formulations retail gasoline prices (dollars per gallon), May 2005-April 2015
Zero-vehicle households become more common
Figure 17: US households without a vehicle, 2005-12
KEY PLAYERS
What you need to know
Three companies dominate the market
Car sharing is on the rise
Tech and mobile innovations are increasingly important
One-way car rentals have hit US soil
Market leaders
Three companies dominate the market
Figure 18: Car rental company revenues (estimated) and market share, FY 2012 and FY 2014
What’s working?
Car-sharing/short-term rentals pulling in $400 million
Figure 19: Zipcar, landing page, September 2014
Rental companies witness increase in demand for luxury cars
Figure 20: National, email advertisement, April 2015
Rental companies grow their environmentally friendly fleets
Distinct brands work to attract specific consumer subsets
Mobile booking apps used by one in four car renters
What’s struggling?
Loyalty programs struggle to engage members
Figure 21: Average number of loyalty memberships per household and active program participation rate, 2010-14
Stagnant growth in ancillary revenues
What’s next?
Companion apps/travel guides increase brand engagement
Access apps allow renters to unlock vehicles with their phones
P2P car-sharing companies gain traction
Figure 22: RelayRides, “How It Works: RelayRides Peer to Peer Car Rentals,” Aug. 25, 2012
Figure 23: Getaround, “Getaround – How It Works,” Sept. 9, 2014
One-way and 'drop-off-anywhere' rentals make renting more convenient
Figure 24: Zipcar, “Zipcar One Way | City Transportation Made Even Easier,” May 1, 2014
THE CONSUMER
What you need to know
The percentage of adults renting cars increased slightly in 2014
Few are members of car rental loyalty programs
Renters want to engage with brands online
Many renters are frustrated by inconveniences in the process
Car rental usage
Vehicle renting is back on upswing
Figure 25: Share of adults and total adults who rent vehicles, 2004-14
Most car renters rent for personal/leisure purposes
Figure 26: Past 12 month vehicle rental use, by purpose (business versus personal), 2004-14
Though fewer rent for business, business travelers rent more often
Figure 27: Number of times rented a vehicle in the past 12 months, percentage all and business versus personal (mean), November
2013-December 2014
Car rental company used
Enterprise is most popular; travelers tend to use Hertz, Avis for business
Figure 28: Brands used by car renters in the past 12 months, business use versus personal use, November 2013-December 2014
Car rental loyalty programs
Only two in 10 are members of car rental loyalty programs
Figure 29: Membership in a car rental loyalty program, March 2015
Most renters think rewards are too difficult to earn
Figure 30: Attitudes toward car rental loyalty programs, March 2015
Figure 31: Hertz, email advertisement, January 2015
Best tactics for prompting engagement with travel loyalty programs
Car renters prefer engagement via email, online portals
Figure 32: Avis, “Avis What Drives You – Blake Mycoskie,” online video, Feb. 24, 2015
Figure 33: Best tactics for prompting engagement with travel loyalty programs, March 2015
Millennials more likely to want information via mobile devices
Figure 34: Best tactics for prompting engagement with travel loyalty programs, index to average by age, March 2015
Appeal of specific loyalty rewards
Nearly half of car renters want to earn free rentals
Figure 35: Interest in specific types of loyalty rewards, by car loyalty program membership, March 2015
Older renters want freebies, younger renters want convenience
Figure 36: Interest in specific types of loyalty rewards, by age, March 2015
Methods used to reserve a rental car
Half of recent car renters booked directly on a company site
Figure 37: Methods used for reserving a rental vehicle in the past two years, March 2015
Loyalty program members less likely to need guidance when booking
Figure 38: Methods used for reserving a rental vehicle in the past two years, by car loyalty program membership, March 2015
Types of vehicles rented
Midsize/large vehicles are most commonly rented, preferred type
Figure 39: Types of vehicles rented in past two years and preferred type of rental vehicle, March 2015
Younger consumers tend to prefer smaller, less expensive vehicles
Figure 40: Top five preferred rental vehicle types, by age, March 2015
Car rental pain points
No pain, no gain? Renters want companies to streamline the rental process
Figure 41: Car rental pain points, March 2015
Loyalty members tend to expect more from companies
Figure 42: Car rental pain points, by car loyalty program membership, March 2015
Attitudes toward renting a car
Green Machines: Many renters seek out environmentally friendly cars
Figure 43: Attitudes toward fuel efficiency and going green, March 2015
Alternative lifestyles: Renters use multiple forms of transportation to get around
Figure 44: Attitudes toward fuel efficiency and going green, March 2015
Paradox of Choice: Renters may need a helping hand when selecting car rental services
Figure 45: Attitudes toward findings deals, March 2015
Consumer segmentation
Figure 46: Car rental consumer segments, March 2015
Segment 1: As Needed (43%)
Figure 47: Demographics for the As Needed car rental segment, March 2015
Segment 2: Hunter Gatherers (35%)
Figure 48: Demographics for the Hunter Gatherers segment, March 2015
Segment 3: Free Upgrades (22%)
Figure 49: Demographics for the Free Upgrades segment, March 2015
APPENDIX
Data sources and abbreviations
Data sources
Fan chart forecast
Abbreviations and terms
Market
Figure 50: Total US car rental revenues and forecast, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2010-20
Figure 51: Number of rental cars in service, 2010-15
Consumer
Figure 52: Past 12 month vehicle rental, Fall 2004-14
Figure 53: Past 12 month vehicle rental use, by purpose (business versus personal), Fall 2004-14
Figure 54: Number of times rented a vehicle in the past 12 months, percentage all and business versus personal (mean), November
2013-December 2014
Figure 55: Car rental brands used in the past 12 months, business versus personal use, November 2013-December 2014
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
US Research Methodology
Consumer research
Social Media Research
Trade research
Statistical Forecasting

Download our eBook: How to Succeed Using Market Research

Learn how to effectively navigate the market research process to help guide your organization on the journey to success.

Download eBook

Share this report