Thought Leadership

Consumers May Be Slow to Adopt Mobility Tech, but Fleet Decision-Makers Are Ready Despite the Pandemic

March 24, 2021
Author: Lucas Lowden
Escalent: Fleet Decision-Makers Are Ready to Adopt Mobility Tech Despite Pandemic

It is no surprise that fleet owners and operators faced considerable challenges in 2020—many of which continue today. Logistics became increasingly difficult as the unique and enormous effects of the pandemic set in nearly a year ago. With such network-wide disruption in business operations and demand, one may think conventional wisdom and a return to normal would top the wish list for fleet decision-makers.

However, these business leaders have embraced the changes, persevered through wild swings in demand, and continue to plan for a new-look future for the industry—one prominently featuring connected and electric vehicles and previously unmatched sources of intelligence to aid in optimizing their business operations.

Technological innovations that require large investments are the easy first casualties when a major market turn or disruption occurs. While it would have been easy—and arguably most logical—to shelve plans for fleet upgrades, owners and operators didn’t waiver in the face of adversity. This is among the key insights we uncovered with our 2021 Fleet Technology Index, the latest report released from Fleet Advisory Hub™, which closely examines fleet decision-maker sentiments and adoption plans for an array of transportation and mobility solutions that, taken together, illustrate the future of the fleet industry.

We found that the long-term benefits of modernizing fleet operations are so compelling that significant business contraction in the wake of the pandemic has done very little to slow the consideration and adoption of emerging solutions. In fact, fleet decision-makers’ confidence in the market’s readiness to adopt transformative technologies has increased, with data analytics, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and telematics services leading the way. Artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles lag behind the first tier, while fleet decision-makers’ expectations for drones, mobility services and blockchain are more tempered compared with other tested technologies.

Fleet operators are particularly bullish on the top three solutions and expect them to reach significant penetration within the next three years:

  • BEVs: 16% have adopted and 44% are considering.
  • Data analytics: 24% have adopted and 35% are considering.
  • Telematics: 17% have adopted and 33% are considering.

Moreover, fleet leaders gravitate to these technologies even more today than they did a year ago. This year, stakeholders have indicated much higher likelihood to invest in these technologies (by percentage-point increases compared with 2020 data):

  • BEVs: +30%
  • Data analytics: +28%
  • Telematics: +21%

Fleet owners are sending a clear message—these technologies are highly desirable and greatly improve fleet operations and profitability.

Ultimately, product manufacturers and service providers will play a large part in maintaining the momentum for these three core features and other emerging technologies. By collaborating with fleet business users, product manufacturers and service providers can offer critical support systems to foster adoption of their latest and greatest technologies, including education and training, low-risk pilot opportunities, and a direct line of communication for feedback that would help guide and improve iterative development.

If you’d like to learn more about these findings, Fleet Advisory Hub or how we can help you prepare for the fleet of the future, please click the button below to send us a note.

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Escalent | Lucas Lowden
Lucas Lowden
Insights Consultant, Automotive & Mobility

Innovation strategist and business analyst, Lucas has over 15 years of experience in market research and automotive. He is the program lead for Fleet Advisory Hub™—an innovative, cost effective way for companies to secure a substantial portion of their annual commercial and fleet vehicle insights. Lucas has spent significant time working with senior management to frame Escalent's automotive strategy around the next generation of research and consulting solutions. He also led the facilitation of a cross-functional team to develop Escalent's big data and IoT strategy, capabilities and partner network.