How do I know? Because KISKA is the outsider studio that entrepreneurs, investors, and CXOs from the new mobility sector seek out when they need thinking beyond the car. Some of these players are new and need a brand built from scratch. Others are established automotive and technology brands that need market clarity, service innovation, or simply a more desirable design.
Our job? Boost the business case for their solution. We do this by ensuring they satisfy the needs and desires of a specific user in a specific context. From an urban commuter on a scooter in Paris; to a student in India traversing a rural road on a 125 cc bike; to a CEO flying from meeting to meeting across São Paulo. I don’t think there is a point in offering markets the same solution every other brand is. So, we dig into our cross-industry knowledge to identify specific user contexts and needs, and design solutions just for them.
2020 sped up the evolution of future mobility. Lockdowns made us rethink the necessity of the office and our daily commute. This encouraged us to move in greater numbers outside the city, or transformed clogged city streets into pedestrian-only zones. Border closures and restrictions stopped non-essential travel. Now business trips are done over Zoom and VR; and the bargain holiday is out as we reckon with the consequences of mass tourism.
The thing is, these trends aren’t new. 2020 just accelerated the rate of change. In some cases forcing stakeholders to make decisions that will inform how we live and get around in the future.
Buy less. Get more.
The other big shift our Brand Insights team saw this year was how consumers are spending their money. They bought less, but were willing to pay more for quality products and services. This trend contributed greatly to the boom in sales of two-wheel vehicles. With public and shared mobility unappealing, and options for travel limited, scooters, e-bikes, and motorcycles are a fast, practical, independent, and fun option to get around. According to Forbes, in 2019 3.7 million e-bikes were sold in Europe. By spring 2020, sales increased by 23%, and it is expected that 17 million will be sold in 2030. This e-bike boost is already having a great effect on city streets, with planners and citizens stating that returning to car-dominated commutes is out of the question.
In my opinion, the move towards spending less frequently, but for better experiences, will push mobility companies to evolve their business models from technology-driven to brand-driven. You can see this in Asia, where young people with lifestyle aspriations are pushing scooter manufacturers to offer well-designed products supported by sophisticated brand experiences. It’s also reflected in a more premium image of future mobility. Robo taxis and VTOL air taxis present future mobility as a superior choice for transportation – rather than a compromise. With more brand experiences like this, I think we can expect that consumers will soon understand that they don’t have to settle for less when they choose to not use a car.
Finally, I think the next generations calling the shots will have a profound impact on the future mobility landscape. Gen Z in particular will measure mobility options based on their purpose and impact on the environment. They care about what a brand stands for and appreciate when a brand demonstrates commitment to its promise through its experiences. “It makes me look good, it’s good for society, and it makes me feel good,” is the mantra. What mobility companies must understand is that what this generation needs varies greatly in different global contexts.