The U.S. Car Rental Market: Business as Usual or Poised for Disruption?

The U.S. Car Rental Market: Business as Usual or Poised for Disruption? Published July 2016 Analysts: Robert Lovitt, Douglas Quinby, Maggie Rauch


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In the U.S. car rental segment, three parent companies – nine brands between them – account for 95% of total sector revenue. Travel industry segments don’t come much more consolidated than car rental. The result is a mature market – large and slow-moving – that all but cries out for innovation, just as a slew of disruptive upstarts are promising to provide it with user-friendly apps. People who might otherwise opt for a traditional rental car are now downloading these apps, booking rides and vehicles, and enjoying the self-service, no-paperwork, on-demand convenience that they offer.  

Phocuswright's The U.S. Car Rental Market: Business as Usual or Poised for Disruption? examines the major consumer, distribution and innovation trends shaping the U.S. car rental market. The report includes market sizing and projections through 2017, the rental and digital behavior of U.S. leisure and business travelers, and the impact of ride-hailing services on car rental use.  

Key topics include:

  • The size of the U.S. car rental market, with projections through 2017, as well as sizing for the online market
  • An analysis of the impact of mobile ride-hailing
  • A look at the primary motivations for choosing a car rental provider for business and leisure travelers
  • Insight into the potential for disruption in the ground transportation segment – particularly among business travel  

Purchase Phocuswright's The U.S. Car Rental Market: Business as Usual or Poised for Disruption? for the research and analysis essential to understanding this segment – and the tools to evolve along with it.

  • Introduction
    • Key Findings
    • Methodology
  • Market Size & Outlook: Moving Forward, Tapping the Brakes
    • Online Bookings Inch Up (and Take the Lead)
    • Mobile: More Looking Than Booking
  • Not All Rentals Are Created Equal: The Rental Traveler & Their Trips
    • Pickups & Drop-Offs: Where Renters Go
    • To Rent or Not to Rent, That Is the Question
  • Online Shopping & Booking Trends
    • When Look Turns to Book, Supplier Sites Take the Lead
  • Three Brands to Rule Them All
    • Price, Brand and Vehicles Drive Rental Selection
    • Renter Satisfaction: Room for Improvement
  • Emerging Models Begin to Make Inroads
    • Does More Ride-Hailing Mean Less Renting?
    • Car-Sharing Services Seek Their Sweet Spot
  • Appendix: Demographics

The U.S. Car Rental Market: Business as Usual or Poised for Disruption? is based on methodology that includes an online consumer survey of 2,000 U.S. adult travelers and interviews with 25 industry leaders across the ground transportation landscape, including car rental and ground transportation providers.

1. Online Consumer Survey

Consumer insights were collected in 4Q15 via an online survey targeting 2,000 U.S. adult travelers. To be included, respondents had to have taken at least one trip in the last 12 months, either for leisure or business, and used a paid, private ground transportation service during that trip (excluding public transportation and intercity rail). A qualifying trip is defined as travel at least 75 miles from home that included an overnight stay. Survey participants included 1,195 leisure travelers, 409 unmanaged business travelers and 590 managed business travelers, with the sample weighted to reflect the U.S. adult traveler population.

2. Industry Interviews and Segment Analysis

Market sizing and other industry insights were collected via interviews with 25 leading players in the ground transportation landscape, including car rental providers, OTAs, corporate travel managers, mobile ride-hailing and car-sharing companies and select scheduled ground transportation providers. Estimates and forecasts cover U.S.-based travel businesses, including car rental suppliers and OTAs.

Both leisure and unmanaged business travel services are included in the online travel market sizing and forecast figures. Unless otherwise indicated, online gross bookings and share figures refer to leisure/unmanaged travel. Unmanaged business travel refers to all car rental expenses associated with business travel in firms that do not have travel policies dictating the channels, types of travel, suppliers or fares/rates used. Corporate online booking systems such as Concur Technologies and Sabre Holdings' GetThere are excluded from this analysis.

Figures listed in tables may not always add to 100% due to rounding.

US $695 
CA $926 • £574 • €626
FREE for Open Access Subscribers
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