2022 Flywheel Wrapped | End of Year Report
Looking back at the US secondary micromobility market in 2022
Welcome to Flywheel, a weekly exploration of the used side of owned micromobility.
This week’s newsletter is a special edition. I first started working on Flywheel in December 2021. After 48 newsletters and over a year of collecting Craigslist data on a daily basis, I’m excited to release 2022’s Flywheel Wrapped. This end of year report provides all the statistics on market dynamics, usage, pricing, and popular brands in the secondary micromobility market this past year.
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The US Secondary Micromobility Market in 2022
Note: This report focuses on listings from the SF - Bay Area, LA, NYC, and Seattle. These four are the largest used micromobility markets in the US, as well as the regions that I have 1+ year’s worth of data for.
High Level Market Size and Dynamics
There were 14,107 listings posted across the top 4 regions in 2022 ($28,709,218 worth of vehicles). 25.5% of listings were posted by businesses. A regional breakdown of all posted listings:
SF - Bay Area was the largest market with 5161 listings. LA and Seattle were pretty even (3332 and 3222 listings respectively), while NYC was the smallest market with less than half the number of listings as SF (2392).
Of the ~14K listings, a total of 13,296 listings were marked sold ($27,102,224 worth of vehicles). The breakdown of regions in comparison to each other looks similar to the total listings:
Used vehicles on average took 21 days to sell, and Seattle was the fastest moving market in terms of how quickly vehicles were sold.
While used vehicles in Seattle would on average sell in ~18 days, used vehicles in SF would sell in ~21 days. In LA and NYC, it took an average of ~23 and ~24 days respectively for a used vehicle to sell.
As suspected for outdoor devices like ebikes, there was a seasonality in the number of listings that spiked in the late summer/early fall:
However, looking at seasonality by region, there’s an interesting anomaly:
As expected, the number of listings in Seattle spikes in the late summer/early fall, and the number of listings stays relatively consistent across the year in SF and LA given their year-round riding weather. Surprisingly, New York also has a consistent number of listings across the year even though it’s the region with the starkest difference between seasons and the harshest winter and early spring months. I believe this speaks to the fact that a greater portion of NYC’s vehicles are used for commercial applications by the likes of delivery couriers, as well as the fact that NYC has the greatest density and arguably the most bike-friendly infrastructure and traffic patterns of the four analyzed regions.
In my opinion, the sweet spot for a new mass market ebike is in the $1500-$2500 range. As such, it makes sense that the average price of a used ebike in 2022 was $1864.73 and the median price was $1400. I would expect these prices to be a bit lower, but the supply chain crunch inducing long lead times and low availability of vehicles likely inflated them a bit. The most expensive listing was listed at $14K, while the cheapest was listed at $310.
A breakdown of average price by region:
SF’s average used vehicle price is the highest at $2087.13. LA and Seattle’s average prices are a bit lower at $1963.67 and $1825.83 respectively. Notably, NYC’s average used price of $1239.00 is only 60%-65% of the average resale prices of the other major markets. I think this is yet another statistic that suggests that NYC has a higher mass market adoption of micromobility for utility and accessible transportation purposes while the other regions skew more towards leisure/sport purposes.
On average, used vehicles are posted at a 26% discount off MSRP with an approximate degradation of $3.96/mile. This is a much steeper degradation than the rates most retailers and OEMs have suggested to me, despite the fact that many of these used vehicles have well beyond a majority of their manufacturer-rated lives remaining. A breakdown of vehicle conditions (self reported by sellers) at resale across all four major US markets:
A majority of vehicles are in New (38%) or Like New (29.7%) condition. 22.5% of vehicles are in Excellent condition, 9.08% in Good condition, and <2% in Fair or Salvage conditions.
Furthermore, the average mileage of used vehicles in 2022 was only 365.04 miles. For context, most good quality battery packs are rated for 700-1000 charge cycles and thereby several thousand miles of riding. The average mileage of each of the qualitative descriptors of vehicle conditions mentioned above:
Breaking mileage by region also hints at some interesting points regarding the types of vehicles most common in particular regions.
LA has the lowest average mileage at ~200 miles, which is in line with LA’s sprawl and lack of dense, connected bike infrastructure as well as the fact that many of the listings in the region are D2C scramblers and cruisers that sellers state are used for leisurely neighborhood riding. On the other hand, the average mileage in NYC is the highest at ~440 miles even though the region has the cheapest average resale price. This is, again, likely due to NYC ebike ridership skewing more towards commercial or utility use-cases.
Types of Ebikes
The most common form factors of used ebikes listed in 2022 are commuter and sport ebikes, which together make up 55.3% (28.4% commuters and 26.9% sport ebikes) of all listings.
Coming in at 16.1%, I was personally surprised at how large of a portion of used vehicles were folding ebikes. While folding ebikes are extremely convenient for urban settings, they often don’t feel as stable or performant as commuter or sport ebikes. That being said, given that space is a premium for city dwelling riders, I think it’d be wise for commuter OEMs to think about vehicles that can fold and/or have a smaller footprint.
Only 2.67% of vehicles listed last year were cargo bikes, but I expect this category to grow tremendously as more people look to ebikes for utility beyond just moving a single rider (i.e. hauling heavier loads, commercial delivery, multiple riders). Cargo bikes are also generally much more heavily utilized than other vehicle types. Consider the average mileage of used vehicles for each vehicle type.
Used cargo bikes have an average usage of 875.19 miles, almost double that of sport, performance, or commuter bikes.
The split between bikes from D2C OEMs (i.e. Rad Power, VanMoof, Super73, Lectric) vs. Dealership OEM bikes (i.e. Tern, Giant, Trek, Specialized) is fairly even. 44.5% of all used ebikes were from D2C brands vs. 55.5% from Dealership brands, and the number of days active as well as the degradation/mile are roughly the same. The key difference between the two types is in average mileage: D2C brand ebikes had an average mileage of 256.79 miles while Dealership brand ebikes had an average mileage of 712.16 miles.
Top Performing Brands
The following is a ranking of the top 20 most commonly listed brands of used ebikes in 2022:
Specialized and Rad Power are the two most popularly posted brands, and they each account for roughly ~5% of all listings last year. Breaking it down by region:
Once again Rad Power and Specialized stand out. Rad Power appears in the top 5 brands for all regions, where as Specialized appears in the top 2 for all regions by NYC. One OEM I wanted to point out is the mysterious Arrow, a brand that is seemingly ubiquitous amongst delivery workers but has been the center of controversy because their bikes can hit upwards of 30mph on a throttle and reportedly have had battery fire problems.
The fastest selling brands based on the average number of days it took for their bikes to sell:
Rad Power tops the list, which I suspect is due to their incredible brand recognition and affordable price point. It’s also clear that Yuba, Tern, Lectric, Super73, and VanMoof are extremely well reputed bikes that catch the eyes of buyers quickly given that they’re in the top 10 fastest selling vehicles despite lower volumes in the used market than the likes of Rad Power, Specialized, or Giant.
Next is a ranking of the brands that best retain their residual value measured by their degradation/mile:
And finally, a ranking of the most utilized ebike brands by mileage:
This is ultimately where premium and more expensive incumbent brands like Stromer, Kalkhoff, and Riese & Müller shine.
Predictions for 2023
2022 was a whirlwind year for the secondary micromobility market, driven by the boom in new ebike sales during COVID, supply chain shortages amidst increasing demands, and a generally increasing adoption of micromobility as a transportation mode. Based on the learnings from a year of Flywheel, these are my predictions for 2023:
Greater demand for use-case specific vehicles that solve a job to do: As more people begin to utilize micromobility vehicles as a means to practical utility beyond just moving from point A to point B, I think customers will demand a shift from generic commuter and sports ebikes to vehicles that are optimized for specific applications. This could be everything from two (adult) rider vehicles and more accessible, compact cargo ebikes to vehicles with new geometries (i.e. smaller form factors, more wheels) that are better suited for more riders.
Better commercial-grade ebikes: It’s clear that ebikes are an excellent solution for last-mile delivery, hence the increasing popularity of ebikes amongst delivery couriers. However, there aren’t a lot of ebikes that can handle the type of intense utilization, mileage, and wear-and-tear that delivery ebikes go through, particularly at price points that are affordable for gig-economy couriers that often have to buy their own vehicles. This is ultimately a major safety and accessibility concern, and I think it’s only a matter of time before we see major brands focusing on vehicles and financing options that suit the needs of delivery personnel.
Increased focus on battery safety: A large talking point recently has been about ebike battery fires. Given that many ebikes are used much more intensely than the more casual riding many of them were designed for, this problem is likely going to get worse. Particularly due to pressures from regulators and the public eye, as well as the general need to have an excellent product and customer experience given how competitive the owned micromobility sector is, I think we’ll see a lot more talk around certifying/using certified batteries and a lot more OEMs focusing on building/integrating better battery management systems.
More vehicles from subscription fleets: In 2022, there’s been a slew of new startups and existing brands working on launching subscription services. Especially since there aren’t a lot of great micromobility financing options in the US, I suspect subscription services will become quite popular. As these subscription fleets grow, there will inherently be more vehicles that will retire from these fleets and enter the secondary market. Subscription fleets are also incentivized to help mature the used micromobility segment given that the residual value and secondary market resale opportunity is critical to their unit economics.
Higher used ebike volumes and more resale platforms: Those that bought an ebike during the pandemic ebike boom will be hitting the 2-3 year mark of owning their vehicle next year, and I suspect many of these people will likely enter the market to upgrade to newer vehicles in 2023. I predict that this will lead to an increased volume of used vehicles and greater customer demands around the experience of buying used vehicles. While Craigslist will continue to be a key, if not the largest, player, I think there will be a lot of new resale platforms that will try to take advantage of this opportunity. With leading used ebike marketplace Upway’s coming launch in the US, as well as the growing number of local bike shops that are now facilitating used ebike transactions or even buying used ebikes to refurbish and resell on their own, consumers will have a lot more trustworthy options to buy or sell used ebikes.
That’s it for the 2022 Flywheel Wrapped! If there’s any specific statistics or trends you want to dive into deeper, just reply or comment below!
It’s been an absolute pleasure exploring the secondary owned micromobility market with you all over this past year, and I’m super excited to continue the journey and see how this industry evolves. As always, thanks again for your support, and see you next week!
- Puneeth Meruva
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