After being struck by the one-two punch of the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing global lockdown in March and April, last month there were tentative signs that the demand for micromobility started to return.
The total number of new app store reviews shot up by 264% in May as cities relaxed quarantines and people were allowed to travel more freely. This represents a major reversal from the previous month, when the number of reviews slipped 86%. With Lime unfreezing its operations and returning scooters to many of its markets, its number of app store reviews increased the most (787%), followed by Bird (452%). Latin American operator Grin was the only operator that received fewer reviews in May than it did in April (-49%), perhaps owing to ongoing lockdowns in its core markets.
(Note: I am no longer tracking Hive and Jump’s performances, as both operators were recently acquired and incorporated into the FreeNow and Lime apps, respectively.)
Overall five operators, Lime, Bird, Spin, Grin, and Voi, accounted for more than 90% of international app store reviews last month. Lime received more reviews than any other provider (57.8%), but Bird saw the highest growth in app store comments month over month: 29.5% to Lime’s 25.8%.
Lime was also the most reviewed app in several key markets, including Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. Voi saw the highest activity in its home country, Sweden (60% compared to Tier’s 20%). In France, Dott came in a close second to Lime (33.2% to 48.3%). In the US, Bird took the top spot (42.4% over Lime, 39%)
Using January as a baseline, the number of app store reviews has declined for every single operator this year except for Tier, whose activity has defied all trends and gone up an incredible 216%. Dott, which saw a decline of only about 5% during that same period, has fared better than most, although nowhere as well as Tier. Grin’s activity is down close to 99% compared to January, putting it last among all providers.
Lastly, Lime had the highest user-satisfaction rating of any micromobility app in May (4.86/5), followed closely by Bird (4.83/5). Overall user satisfaction remained very stable compared to April, with only minor fluctuations in the ratings. Tier saw an increase of 1% in user satisfaction, followed by Wind (0.8%). The Indian moped-sharing company Yulu saw a decline of -1.3%, followed by Voi (-0.4%).
Net Promoter Score
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a scoring system for quantifying customer loyalty. Companies generally calculate NPS by asking customers to rate their level of satisfaction on a scale of 0 to 10.
In a similar manner, App Stores ask their users to rate their level of satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 5.
Typically, on a 0 to 10, those who respond 9 or 10 are considered “promoters,” or enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others; those who respond 7-8 are considered “passives,” customers who are satisfied but not overly enthusiastic; and those who respond 6 or less are considered “detractors,” or unhappy customers who could hurt the brand through negative reviews.
To calculate NPS for the scooter apps, I applied the following method, trying to replicate the classic scoring system.
- Promoters (5)
- Passives (4)
- Detractors (1-3)
According to this system, Lime (91.73) had the highest global NPS in May, followed by Bird (90.04).
Although Lime ranked the best globally, in some key European markets, local players scored higher in customer experience. In Germany and France Voi had a higher NPS than Lime. On the contrary, in Sweden, both Bird and Lime scored higher than their European rivals. Lime led in the U.S, Italy Spain as well as Australia.
Though NPS scores don’t change much month to month, Tier’s rating notably did go up 3 points since April.
Micromobility, especially scooter sharing is a premium offering, that requires premium service and high levels of customer loyalty. Focussing on Customer experience is extremely important to have high value customers, who would promote your services, use them often and spend more!
User Reported Issues
Going through all user-reported issues from 150+ app stores, most comments from May fall into the following categories:
- App Issue
- Scooter Issue
- Unable to Start Ride
- Unable to End Ride
- Customer Support
App Issue – 35%: Similar to in past months, issues with the apps themselves were the most commonly reported problems. Users reported trouble with signup, time to load, and payment setup, among other things. Here are some of illustrative or interesting user comments:
This app is having the same problem it was having a year ago which is it takes forever to load and then keeps charging you when you end the ride waiting for you to press the end or pause button. But it takes forever to load and I have to hit it multiple times before it responds and the whole time it's charging me more. And then once it finally loads it makes you take a picture but half the time the picture won't load or register that you've taken one.
I had to install the app twice to ride the scooter, then after the ride I had to install it again just to end the ride.
I can't even sign up to use the bikes? Tried two different accounts, and no option to sign up
Users continued to complain that the Bird app asked them for access to their phone’s microphone. On checking the permissions requested by Bird, there is no explicit mention of microphones, but it could be that camera access is combined with microphone access on some Android devices.
This app won't work properly without access to microphone.. My microphone didn't change my user experience. My microphone doesn't save me money or help me ride. So therefore if you need to act like a Google spy through my microphone. I find your services outdated. So spin and lime didn't need access to my microphone. So I'll stick with them thanks. I find that apps that need access to the whole phone when those permissions have nothing to do to improve the user experience; uninstalled!!!!!
Scooter Issue – 21%: Hardware problems jumped from 13% of total comments in April to 21% in May. Multiple reviewers complained of faulty brakes, including at least two Lime users.
Bad 😞 scooter I got hurt cause the brake didn't work I like bird more faster more reliable
Lame and scary. 1st scooter's motor didn't work. 2nd scooter's brake didn't work and the battery died in 10 minutes.
Horrible scooter, shaky, slow, the brakes don't work, it rattled the entire time and was the most uncomfortable ride ever. Try Lyft, Spin or Lime... Anything EXCEPT Bird.
guys if you want to die then use yulu cycle..paddle is too hard within 1km you will tired...better use miracle elactric cycle...
Overcharging – 21%: Reports of apps overcharging users spiked 7 points compared to April.
Horrible parking detections in santa monica. Overcharged cuz i had to get out of redzone when it had parking zones that failed to recoginize.
For 15-20 minutes ride i wascharged for 109min (I'm sure ended the ride from application and device locked. And inn-app chat function simply doesn't work messages arent' delivered and I can't file a complaint. The rides are fun, but this format of service delivery is unacceptable.
Multiple users reported being dissatisfied with operators that charge “hold” fees.
Paid for the scooter and it didn't work... then $50 was taken out of my bank account as a hold without my knowledge... Very bad first experience and my last
Unable Start/End Ride – 11%: Many users reported being unable to start or end their rides. Yet another Spin rider complained they were not able to end their ride this month.
Why does it takes so long to end a ride.My ride ended 7 minutes after I ended it.
A Lime rider reported having trouble with locking five times in one month.
I'm frustrated from lime. Worst GPS servers in the whole category which means some rides cannot be locked or ended and you will pay the max amount. Happened to me five times only in the last month and I haven't been using lime everyday. I was trying to contact them so I can get my money back and help them solve it but nobody event told me they got my msg. Anyway better to use bird or wind.. lime is horrble
And a Bird user said they had to wait for 30 minutes to end a ride.
Took a short ride, parked and tried to lock bike/end ride as usual, but it WOULD NOT END. The clock just kept ticking. I tried everything I could think of. Sent a chat message to Support but got an error: Message Failed. Restarted the app, it took a full 10 mins to load and then when it did the clock was still ticking and I couldn't end the ride. Eventually it ended, 30 minutes later. Have messaged Support every day, keep getting "Message Failed," even after uninstalling and reinstalling app.
Customer Support, Cost – 12%:
A few users found the services too expensive and or reported having trouble with customer care. Similar to previous months, there were multiple reports from Yulu users about getting their security deposit refunded.
Here is a comment from a Lime user who did not receive a response after seven complaints:
Am giving one star for the customer service support after sending 7 complaints about a bug in the system and they didn't get back to me which caused me around 70 Euro! Dont use this app
Love the scooters, but the price has more than doubled since I started using them (last year). Seems like a very greedy move and is the reason I am switching over to better competitors, like Circ.
They make you deposit at least $10 to your spin account instead of just charging you for the rides. Now they have some of my money but I can't use the service because of covid. Their prices are way too high as well, and the scooters are slow. Taking an uber or lyft would be much quicker, easier, and cost about the same.
Note: Data gathered from 150+ Apple and Google app stores across the globe. If interested in more insights on the data collected, do send me a message!