- 2023 Flywheel Wrapped | End of Year Report
2023 Flywheel Wrapped | End of Year Report
Looking back at the US secondary micromobility market in 2023
Welcome to Flywheel, a weekly exploration of owned micromobility.
Happy new year! After a brief hiatus, I’m excited to kick off the year with the second of a special edition of Flywheel. I first started working on Flywheel in December 2021. More than two years of newsletters and daily data collection later, I’m excited to release 2023’s Flywheel Wrapped. This end of year report provides all the statistics on market dynamics, usage, pricing, and popular brands/models in the secondary micromobility market over the past year.
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The US Secondary Micromobility Market in 2023
Note: This report focuses on listings from the SF - Bay Area, LA, NYC, Seattle, Denver, Miami, and Santa Barbara. These are the largest used micromobility markets in the US, as well as the regions that I have at least ~1 year’s worth of data for. For reference, 2022’s Flywheel Wrapped can be found here.
High Level Market Size and Dynamics
There were almost 19,721 listings posted across major US regions in 2023, representing ~$28.2M worth of vehicles. 19.1% of these listings were posted by a business.
A split of the vehicle types in the used market by number of listings:
Breakdown of Listings by Vehicle Type
Ebikes dominate the used micromobility market, making up 70.7% of listings.
A split of the vehicle types in the secondary market by value of vehicles paints a similar picture:
Breakdown of Market Value by Vehicle Type
Ebikes still dominate, making up 80.4%, or ~$22.67M, of the market by value of the vehicles.
A breakdown by region shows that the SF - Bay Area continues to be the largest market for micromobility in the US.
Number of Listings by Region
SF - Bay Area had 6247 listings in 2023, which is 31.7% of all listings. NYC, which had fewer listings than Seattle in 2022, has since grown to be 1.6X larger than Seattle. Denver is one of the smaller micromobility markets, but is at par with Seattle when looking at ebikes alone. Lastly, while most markets have more ebikes than escooters, Santa Barbara is an interesting edge case where escooter listings outnumber ebikes by more than 3:1.
Of the ~20K listings posted in 2023, 18,979 were marked sold. This represents $26,598,373 worth of vehicles transacted in the used market last year. A breakdown of listings sold by region:
Number of Listings Sold by Region
The secondary micromobility market has generally slowed down since 2022. Used vehicles in 2023 sell on average in 26 days, which is up significantly from 21 days in 2022.
Days to Sell by Region
Seattle maintained its position as the fastest moving market in the US, with listings in the region selling in ~23 days (up from 18 days in 2022). NYC is the slowest market, with its listings selling in ~27 days.
As is generally known to be the case, micromobility is a seasonal business that spikes in the summer months:
Number of Listings per Month, 2023
This per month view of the market size also provides an interesting way to further illustrate how 2023’s used market saw fewer vehicles than 2022’s. Consider the number of used ebikes posted per month since 2022 in SF, LA, NYC, and Seattle:
Number of Listings per Month, 2022-2023
Even 2023’s peak periods are not that much larger than some of 2022’s low periods. 2023 saw 2,408 ebikes and ~$9.6M worth of vehicles less than 2022.
The pricing range that the micromobility industry has settled on for new mass market light electric vehicles is in the $1000 to $2500 range, with ebikes settling in the higher end of that range ($1500-$2500) and escooters settling in the lower end of that range (~$1000). Considering that as the baseline, we see that average resale prices in 2023 roughly tracked as expected.
The average resale price of a used LEV in 2023 is $1,403.50 (median of $1000). Ebikes are a bit more expensive at an average resale price of $1,624.63 (med of $1,200), and escooters are a bit cheaper at an average resale price of $870 (med of $450). These prices are lower than in 2022, where the average resale price of an ebike was $1864.73 and the median resale price was $1400. I suspect that the overstock and inventory imbalance issues that the micromobilty industry has faced since the plateauing of the pandemic-era demand boom have played a major role in these lower prices.
A breakdown of average price by region:
Average Resale Price by Region
SF continues to be the most expensive market for LEVs, with an average resale price of $1,611.90 for all all vehicle types and an average resale price of $1,831.94 for ebikes. Similarly, NYC continues to be one of the most accessible markets, with the second lowest overall average resale price of $1,091.34 and the lowest ebike average resale price of $1231.62. LA leads the way with the most inexpensive escooters, which are listed at an average of $719.94.
Average MSRP by Region
A breakdown of the average retail prices for new vehicles by region also reflects how SF - Bay Area is the most expensive market and NYC is the cheapest.
I think NYC’s low and accessible prices are a testament to how the city has a higher mass market adoption of light electric vehicles used for utility and day-to-day transportation needs, quite often by gig-delivery workers.
The types of vehicles most commonly sold in these regions also help to explain their average prices. For example, NYC and Miami tend to feature a lot of D2C vehicles. A deeper dive into the brands of vehicles most popular in these regions will follow later in this report.
On average, used vehicles are posted at a 32% discount off MSRP. Ebikes are listed at an average discount of 31% off MSRP, while escooters are listed at a shocking 50% discount off MSRP.
The average degradation for used micromobility vehicles in 2023 was -$2.89/mi. Ebikes had an average degradation of -$2.46/mi while escooters had an extraordinary average degradation of -$7/mi.
These degradation rates are markedly higher than what most retailers and OEMs think they should be at, which I think is a reflection of the lack of trust in used vehicle retail channels and the challenges of maintaining micromobility vehicles. Particularly for escooters where warranties, maintenance, and service networks aren’t well established, it’s clear that customers are struggling to have a lot of faith in the reliability of used escooters on the market.
That being said, the -$2.46/mi average degradation of ebikes in 2023 is a significant step forward from the -$3.96/mile average degradation used ebikes saw in 2022. This is a great signal pointing to the growing maturity of the secondary market for ebikes, as well as the growing intuition and information on true residual values of ebikes.
Resale Condition and Average Mileage
Micromobility vehicles in the secondary market in 2023 were frequently very early in their lifecycles. A breakdown of vehicle conditions at resale:
Breakdown of Vehicle Resale Conditions (Self Reported by Sellers)
Almost 70% of listings are in new (34%) or like-new (30.4%) condition. Only 0.17% are in salvage condition.
In 2023, the average mileage for all used micromobility vehicles is 280.03mi. Ebikes clock an average mileage of 327.73mi, which is lower than 2022’s average ebike mileage of 365.04mi, while escooters only clock an average of 123mi. These are incredibly low mileages, far lower than the usage for which most reputable vehicles are specced for. For context, most high quality battery packs are rated for 700-1000 charge cycles, which even for modest range vehicles represents several thousands of miles of riding.
Lets quantify the qualify the qualitative condition describers discussed above by breaking down what average mileage they correspond to:
As is abundantly clear, used ebikes (even those reported as lower qualitative condition descriptors like “good") in 2023’s secondary market had several 100s if not 1000s miles left in them.
A breakdown of average mileage by region:
Average Mileage by Region
NYC once again has the highest average mileage in the US (364.33mi), both for ebikes (442.84mi) and escooters (196.03mi). This is a tremendous achievement, particularly given that NYC’s secondary market has some of the lowest average resale prices and average MSRPs. And it comes to no surprise; NYC has the best dense, connected bike infrastructure in the country, and its ridership skews towards high-utility use-cases like commuting or commercial delivery. Santa Barbara has the second highest average ebike mileage, largely due to its many streets with low vehicle speed limits that allow riders to be more comfortable moving alongside cars. LA and Miami have the lowest average milages, which I suspect is due to their urban sprawl, sparse bike infrastructure, and predominance of D2C vehicles primarily used for leisure.
Types of Ebikes
Commuters and sport ebikes, the form factors that ushered in the popularity of ebikes, made up up almost half of the secondary market in 2023. 28% of used listings are commuters, and 21.9% are sport ebikes.
Breakdown of Vehicle Form Factors
Folding ebikes are the 3rd most common, making up 18.6% of the market. Cruisers follow closely behind, making up 16.8%. The popularity of these two form factors is important to note. Although neither are particularly efficient or high-performance vehicle types, they offer a comfort and convenience that is particularly important to riders new to riding on two wheels in urban environments.
Cargo bikes are still a small portion of the used market, accounting for 3.68% of the market. This is a small growth from 2022 where they made up 2.67% of the secondary market, and I expect this category to continue to grow in the coming years. As more riders become comfortable with micromobility and start to look at micromobility vehicles as car replacements with higher utility than single-passenger riding (i.e. cargo hauling, multiple riders, and commercial delivery), cargo bikes will become the obvious choice of ebike form factor that maximizes jobs-to-be-done. This is exactly why most major ebike OEMs, even those that have historically only built sport/road ebikes, have started to launch cargo-hauling products.
A breakdown of the average mileage of ebikes by form factor reveals how cargo bikes are already used in a markedly different manner than other types of ebikes:
Average Mileage by Form Factor
The average mileage of used cargo bikes is 945.67mi, which is almost 3x the average mileage of used sport, performance, or commuter bikes. Cruiser and folding ebikes have the lowest average mileages, clocking in at <200mi. This makes sense given that these are the most common form factors for budget D2C bikes.
A breakdown of used ebikes by their regulatory class (a reminder on ebike classes):
Breakdown of Ebike Classes
Class-2 ebikes make up a majority of the secondary market, accounting for 51.4% of all listings.
Comparing ebike classes by average resale price:
Average Resale Price by Class
And by average mileage:
Average Mileage by Class
Not only are class-2 ebikes the most affordable on the market (average resale price of $1,445.68), they are also the most ridden (average mileage of 563.04mi). Riders want a throttle, and the popularity and nature of use of class-2 ebikes is a testament to that fact. For micromobility to maximize the jobs it can do and become more accessible, the throttle is an incredibly powerful tool that reduces the activation energy required to use a micromobility vehicle.
Surprisingly, class-3 ebikes have the lowest average mileage (247mi) despite being capable of the the highest speeds (28mph vs. 20mph). I believe this is an indication that riders aren’t necessarily looking for speeds much higher than 20mph. Based on the customer research of several ebike OEM CEOs I have spoken to, most riders are really only looking for a vehicle that comfortably gets them to ~24mph.
As you many of you already know, I recently released the Flywheel Vehicle Safety Guide. While UL 2849 (the current status-quo) is an excellent start to establish how safe a vehicle is, it’s not fully reflective of all the ebikes in the market that have some sort of safety credibility because it’s just now starting to be adopted by the industry at a broad scale. There’s also no publicly available list that outlines all the vehicles that are UL 2849 certified. As such, I launched the Flywheel Vehicle Safety Guide to serve as an evolving list of ebikes that have received some level of safety credibility or certification.
Currently, 22.9% of the used market in the US is safety rated. They obviously tend to be more expensive (~73% higher average resale price), but see significantly higher average milages:
Average Mileage by Safety Rating
D2C vs. Dealer-Network Brands
The used market is very evenly split between D2C and dealer-network brands, with each type making up ~50% each. The difference in average mileages is also very similar, and the gap in average mileage between the two types of brands has reduced significantly since 2022. Used D2C ebikes have an average mileage of 410.40mi while dealer-network ebikes have an average mileage of 433.95mi.
Unsurprisingly, the average resale price of D2C ebikes ($1,174.46) is much cheaper than that of dealer ebikes ($2,453.25). That being said however, the average discount of the resale price off the original MSRP for D2C brands is only -28%, which is actually lower than the - 34% average discount of dealer brands off the original MSRP. This discrepancy in discounts is likely due to the fact that D2C ebikes already start off at a lower MSRP, so there’s less room to be discounted further.
Top Performing Brands
The following is a ranking of the top 10 most commonly listed brands of used ebikes in 2023:
Number of Listings by Brand
Rad Power grew its position as the most popular brand in the market, making up ~5% of all used listings at the end of 2023. Specialized and Trek are a close 2nd and 3rd, accounting for a little less than 4% each. Sondors and Zap are tied for 10th place. Segway Ninebot and Razor are the only escooter brands represented in the top 10, but the fact that the used escooter market is not even ½ the size of the ebike market makes this highly impressive and shows how dominant they are in the escooter category. The two each make up just shy of 4% of the escooter market.
Segmenting by vehicle type, a breakdown of the top 10 ebike brands:
Number of Ebike Listings by Brand
And a breakdown of the top 10 escooter brands:
Number of Escooter Listings by Brand
Breaking down the top brands by region also gives some hints at the type of ridership in those regions:
As always, ebike heavy weights Rad Power, Specialized, and Trek stand out. They appear in most of the major markets, with Rad Power being 1st or 2nd in 4 of the top 7 markets. NYC is once again a bit of a curveball, with controversial brands Arrow and Fly making its top 5. The two brands are the ride of choice for the army of gig riders making deliveries in NYC due to their ultra-low price point and high-speed capabilities, but many concerns around their safety have been brought up amidst NYC’s challenges with ebike battery fires. Beach towns Miami and Santa Barbara are the only markets where escooter brands crack the top 5. In fact, 4 of Santa Barbara’s top 5 brands are escooter OEMs.
Ranking the fastest selling brands based on the average number of days it took for their vehicles to sell:
Days to Sell by Brand
Of the top 10 most popular brands in the secondary market, only Rad Power cracks the list of the fastest selling brands. The other players on this list, despite their lower volumes in the secondary market, move quite quickly due to the existing reputation they’ve built around their reliability.
Next is a ranking of the brands that best retain their residual value (measured as degradation/mile), where Nakto and Orbea lead the way with degradations less than -$0.1/mi.
Degradation/Mile by Brand
A ranking of the most utilized ebike brands by mileage is very heavily skewed towards dealer-network brands:
Average Mileage by Brand
Yamaha, Stromer, and Yuba are impressive standouts, with all three recording average milages well above 1000mi. Every brand in the top 10 here is a dealer-network brand. High usage is a direct product of reliability and quality, and that is exactly what these premium incumbent brands specialize in.
And finally, even though it’s not technically an OEM, no discussion about micromobility brands is complete without mnetioning the industry’s 800lb gorilla: Bosch. 21.3% of used ebike listings in 2023 have a Bosch powertrain. The average mileage of an ebike with a Bosch powertrain is 412.24mi, more than 2x higher than the average mileage of a non-Bosch powertrain ebike (195.96mi). That being said, the average resale price of an ebike with a Bosch powertrain ($2,277.56) is also more than 2x higher than that of a non-Bosch powertrain ebike ($1,167).
Top Performing Models
A ranking of the most commonly listed vehicle models in the micromobility market:
Number of Listings by Model
Rad Power and Lectric have battled each other over the last few years for the title of the highest-selling ebike OEM in the new vehicle market, and it’s no surprise seeing that same dominance trickle into the secondary market. Effectively every major model sold by the two brands is in the top 10, with Rad Power’s Rad Rover and Lectric’s XP 2.0 neck and neck for the top spot. The only ebikes not by Rad Power or Lectric that make the top 10 are Aventon’s Aventure and Trek’s Verve+ 2.
A ranking of the most utilized ebike models by mileage:
Average Mileage by Model
As we saw with the most utilized brands, the most utilized models are also mostly from premium dealer-network brands. The only exception is UBCO’s 2X2 Adventure, which is actually more of a moped with class-3 ebike-esque speeds.
Predictions for 2024
It has been a tough year for micromobility. The industry is dealing with an over-inventory crisis post the pandemic, supply chains are still constrained, and many of the industry’s biggest players have struggled or even gone out of business. That being said, there’s still plenty of reasons to be optimistic. Early estimates from 2023 market sales reports suggest that sales still grew (albeit more slowly than in 2022), more and more cities are launching new ebike subsidies (almost 125 subsidies available in the US today), and talks continue of a federal ebike subsidy. I believe 2024 can be a pivotal year for the world of micromobility. Some of my predictions for this year:
A shift to greater physical retail presence and vehicles with fewer proprietary parts: One of the main reasons that contributed to the struggles of D2C brands is challenges around maintenance. Without a large maintenance network like bike shops, D2C brands struggled with the costs of remote service, warranties, shipping, etc. For brands with many proprietary parts, the logistics around harder to find replacement parts further exacerbated costs. This led to many customers paying more than they ever expected to for their ebike or escooter and often left them without a vehicle for months. As more and more riders get to the point of owning their vehicles for longer or buying their second vehicle, they’re starting to understand that the total cost of ownership can often be much higher than just the initial MSRP. As such, I believe many customers will shift towards buying vehicles from brands that have a local, physical presence, and I think D2C brands will either increase their physical presence and/or incorporate more widely available parts into their vehicles to make maintenance easier. The fact that many ebike subsidies also require eligible vehicles to be bought at physical retail locations will only further amplify this shift.
More throttles and more cargo bikes: The adoption curve of micromobility is getting to the point where customers aren’t satisfied with just the novelty of a light electric vehicle alone, and they are beginning to expect vehicles to have meaningful utility for their day-to-day transportation needs. Throttled cargo bikes are the perfect solution to maximize the utility of a micromobility vehicle. The fact that incumbent OEM Specialized, a brand best known for its sport ebikes, not only launched a cargo line, but also a throttle accessory earlier this year is a clear sign that the industry is catching on to this customer demand.
More certified/safety rated ebikes to curb battery fires: There’s growing safety concerns about micromobility given the series of battery fires that happened over the past few years. These concerns have led to all sorts of restrictions on ebikes, from many landlords banning indoor storage of ebikes to cities banning ebikes without UL certification and/or excluding them from subsidies. While I don’t think UL is the complete answer to how we determine what micromobility vehicles are safe to ride, I predict that more brands will get their vehicles UL certified and spend significant resources to predict and prevent battery failures. This presents an interesting growth opportunity for both pack suppliers (i.e. Bosch) and battery management systems (i.e. Zitara).
More shared vehicles on the used market: It’s no secret that shared micromobility is struggling immensely. Bird has filed for bankruptcy, Superpedestrian is winding down the company, Helbiz was delisted from Nasdaq, and Lyft is looking to sell off its bike share business. I sincerely hope that the vehicles from these companies’ fleets are resold in the secondary market so that they can find a better home than JUMP’s bikes did. Superpedestrian is leading the way in this regard, and its 20K escooters are set to be auctioned off later this week.
Further growth of subscription services: With shared micromobility options slowly dwindling, many customers will look for other options that give them flexible access to micromobility vehicles. Subscription services are a great alternative, offering both the unlimited and on-demand access of owning your own vehicle as well as the peace of mind of covered maintenance plans. Australian startup Lug+Carrie’s Wombi has already made a big splash in this space with its full ebike subscription service in LA, and many bike shops nationwide are beginning to offer subscriptions to vehicles, maintenance plans, etc.
That’s it for the 2023 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