Zipcar, Inc. is a provider of car sharing and car club services. The company offers transportation alternative for individuals, businesses and universities. They are in the car sharing industry, which means that customers are able to gain the benefit of private vehicle use without bearing the costs and responsibilities of ownership. This analysis describes the general environment, the industry itself, the main competitors of Zipcar, an internal analysis of Zipcar, and finally recommendations for Zipcar to pursue.
Technology: As technology continues to get better and better, the industries that use it will continue to grow in the way they operate and deliver value to customers. The advancement of the internet is a huge success of many marketing campaigns and startup companies as well as a main component in how companies communicate with their customers. For instance in the car share and rental industry, a customer can reserve a car, and drop it off without ever having to talk to a human or see one face to face. It can all be done on a computer of wireless mobile device. Radio frequency technology has also allowed companies to use radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to gain an abundance of information about their products and the uses and whereabouts.
Demographics: Individuals attracted to car sharing are generally residents of dense urban areas where public transit, walking, and cycling are popular transportation options, parking is difficult or costly and residents do not necessarily require cars to go about their daily activities. Over 80% of North America's carsharing membership is comprised of people who live in this residential demographic, followed by significantly smaller percentages in business, college, and low-income groups. Car sharing is becoming more and more attractive to urban citizens as opposed to rural or suburban citizens because of the infrequent need for a car of their own. The increasing cost of car ownership is starting to seem like too much especially to people like Manhattan residents who only need a personal vehicle once or twice a month.
Economics: The failing economy has hit everyone in some way or another an the car share industry is no different. Depreciation costs have greatly raised making things lose their value much faster. Large businesses are not able to give some of the same discounts they once were able to give and smaller companies are feeling the effects of economies of scale. Car manufactures in general have been in hard times causing manufactures to raise prices. Space availability in densely populated cities is also becoming scarcer, causing price increases for rent on building and parking.