Shared mobility in Russia

Shared mobility in Russia

May 21, 2016

Market specifics, local challenges and prospective players

“Mine, yours, ours.” No doubt, the concept of sharing is gaining ground in more and more sectors of the economy all over the world. Nevertheless, the speed of adaption differs strongly among regions and industries. In contrast to early adopters such as the – so-called “Uber-conomy”, the Russian mobility sector is quite ponderous in regard to shared services.

Our Roland Berger team in Russia has conducted extensive research on this topic, and we see numerous reasons for the slow pace of adaption – ranging from mentality, to geography to some characteristics of the local car industry:

  • Mentality: In Europe the attitude in regard to cars and the value of their ownership is changing strongly: For more and more people cars are merely a means of transport. People increasingly feel that car ownership is little more than an unnecessary financial burden. By contrast, in Russia, cars are still considered to be status symbols. It is commonly understood, that individuals wishing to communicate their elevated social status, should own an apartment, a car and a garage for this car.
  • Geography: In the larger Russian cities and in particular in Moscow, this mentality is changing, the culture of ownership is increasingly insignificant and new services are gaining importance. However Moscow is not Russia. The differences in habits and values between large and smaller cities are considerably greater than in the Western world. You only have to leave the downtown area and come to the suburbs. The contrast is plain to see!
  • Market: In contrast to the situation in many Western nations, the Russian car market has not yet reached the point of saturation, and there is still considerable potential for selling large numbers of vehicles. Thus, OEMs are still entering the market and advertising car ownership.

We aim to understand the specifications of the Russian customers in detail and what can and cannot be adapted from Western countries.
We aim to understand the specifications of the Russian customers in detail and what can and cannot be adapted from Western countries.

Europe is the current benchmark

Currently, our Roland Berger team is working for a Russian company addressing the trend of new mobility – a very interesting project, since it feels like shaping the future of transport here in Russia. The client recognizes, that smart mobility is on the uptake and that they have to be part of this trend.

What we aim to do now on this project is to understand the specifications of the Russian customers in detail and what can and cannot be adapted from Western countries. So, we analyze market trends, the appropriate regional footprint for shared services and the corresponding target groups.

Additionally, we assist our client in learning from other regions. Europe is the current benchmark (even more so than the US) and most start-ups here are only imitating their Western counterparts.

From my perspective, the greatest focus is on Germany and France – bike sharing in Paris is a much-cited best practice, the application “moovel“ by Daimler with its door-to-door services and mobile ticket purchase as well as “Qiptit” by the German mobility provider Deutsche Bahn offering intermodal mobility services.

Local best practices

First of many local players is Yandex, known for its search engine that makes it the Russian alternative to Google. They are developing additional businesses including navigation solutions. Their advantage is the availability of “big data”: and utilizing that data to analyze the peoples’ transportation needs and habits.

The second interesting player is Velobike – a Moscow-based bike sharing service. They offer “mobility for the last mile”. For the first 30 minutes you can even ride their bikes for free. You can already book Velobike’s services as part of an intermodal ticket system, the so-called Troyka card, which the Moscow government is developing. It contains different kinds of public transport and bike sharing. In short: The first interesting projects are starting to evolve – driven by new as well as established players. The sharing industry is on the move.

Should you require further proof that it is gaining ground in Russia: Uber entered the Russian market last year. Growth is said to be highly satisfactory.

  • Photo Credits: David Vernon / Getty Images; Rick Lowe / Getty Images

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