National car rental market rebounds amid outbreak

Gofun of the Shouqi group is launching its carsharing activity in Shaoxing, in Zhejiang province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The Chinese car rental market rebounded quickly and better weathered the negative impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Given its privacy and cleanliness, more and more customers are looking for self-driving trips and short-term personal rentals.

This year, China’s car rental industry revenues are expected to exceed 100 billion yuan ($ 14.4 billion). Orders from Trip.com Group, which cooperates with more than 2,000 car rental companies, are expected to increase by 30% per year, he predicted.

China’s largest online travel agency, Trip.com, has found that nearly two-thirds of its car rental customers are new users this year. Across the industry, 45% of total car rental customers are new, which is a strong indication of the growing potential of the sector, Trip.com said.

The most popular destinations for car rental are Sanya in Hainan Province, Chengdu in Sichuan Province and Shanghai, respectively.

“Individual drivers have shown an increasingly diverse demand for rental cars in different scenarios,” said Peng Liang, big data tourism researcher at Trip.com.

“Since the epidemic started this year, more and more Chinese have started working from home, and the demand for business travel has declined. Yet more have recognized the benefits of car rental, and are renting cars for work and vacation, or renting a luxury car. car for photo tours, ”he said.

Currently, China has more than 30,000 car rental companies. Most companies have an average range of 30 cars.

In China, the top five car rental providers, such as New York-listed Ehi Car Service, state-owned Beijing Shouqi Group, and Beijing-based Car Inc, held around 30% of the total market share. . Over the past five years, the industry’s compound annual growth rate was 20%, Trip.com said.

The younger generation has become the backbone of car rental companies. People between the ages of 24 and 40 made up 51% of Trip.com’s total car rental customers, while those under the age of 24 made up 12%, he found.

In addition, tenants show great concerns about car rental titles.

Besides prices, types of cars and conditions, drivers pay attention to aspects such as transparency of insurance compensation and reliability of car pick-up shops. Renters are also concerned about whether customer services cover the entire rental process and whether orders can be easily canceled or changed, Trip.com said.

“The rental car industry is a very decentralized market and it can generate issues such as different standards and difficulty in guaranteeing service. Mergers and innovations will help raise service standards, and the industry will see more growth opportunities, ”Peng said.

On another front, a niche for the recreational vehicle rental business has grown in the country as more travelers seek safe and distinguished travel experiences.

Motorhome travel orders in July on Fliggy, the online travel arm of the Alibaba Group, increased more than 120% year-on-year. It is one of the few segments that has seen its revenue significantly exceed last year’s, Fliggy said.

SAIC MotorRV Technology Co Ltd is China’s largest RV rental company. It has a dominant market share of almost 60 percent.

“Despite the fact that there is still a gap between the RV rental business in China and that in Europe and the United States, the RV inventory in China has jumped with a compound annual growth rate of 30% over the year. in recent years, “said Yang Songbai, general manager. by SAIC MotorRV Technology Co Ltd.

“The sudden outbreak of the epidemic has further increased the popularity of motorhome travel, as motorhomes can provide independent, safe and private space. Now, most travelers who take motorhome trips are families and groups of students, ”he said.


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Pamela W. Robbins