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US Car Rentals Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Car Rentals market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Definition

For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

Car rentals are defined as rentals and car sharing of light-duty passenger vehicles, including, but not limited to, midsize/large vehicles, SUVs, light-duty pickups, and alternative energy vehicles.

The Report does not cover vehicle leases.

The market size is limited to US car rental operations and does not include peer-to-peer or car sharing rental services such as Zipcar, Getaround, or Turo.

Key consumer questions

  • Mobility Services Used
  • Car Rental Frequency
  • Car Rental Reasons
  • Vacation Renters
  • Business Renters
  • Vehicle Type Rented
  • Rental Companies Used

Company Locations and Revenue

  • ACE Rent A Car
  • Advantage Rent-A-Car
  • Affordable/Sensible
  • Avis Budget Group
  • Enterprise Holdings
  • Fox Rent A Car
  • Hertz
  • Independents
  • International Franchise Systems
  • U-Save Auto Rental System

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Buddy Lo, a leading analyst in the Automotive sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The car rental industry is a nearly $30 billion industry in the United States, providing rental cars to consumers across the country. Car rental agencies thrive in the travel industry, where they provide vehicles to consumers in places or situations where they may not have access to a vehicle. Thus the majority of car renters rent a car while traveling, either for vacation or business. Rental car brands must continue to engage travelers while fighting off emerging alternative mobility solutions like ride sharing. Buddy Lo
Automotive Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Car rental industry forecasted for stalled growth
            • Figure 1: Total US revenues and forecast for car rentals, at current prices, 2013-23
          • Most car renters do so infrequently
            • Figure 2: Car rental frequency, March 2018
          • Ride sharing services encroach on car rental space
            • Figure 3: Attitudes toward vacation rentals, March 2018
          • The opportunities
            • Business travelers are the whales of the car rental industry
              • Figure 4: Car rental frequency, by car rental reasons, March 2018
            • Millennials like to road trip
              • Figure 5: Generations, by vacation renters, March 2018
            • Younger women more likely to upgrade to a flashy car
              • Figure 6: Vehicle type rented, by gender and age, March 2018
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Car rental industry revenue reached a record $28.63 billion in 2017
                • One in five consumers rented a car in the past 12 months
                  • Ride sharing participation erodes car rental territory
                    • Positive macroeconomic indicators point to increase in travel
                    • Market Size and Forecast

                      • Car rental revenue forecasts for minimal growth
                        • Figure 7: Total US revenues and forecast for car rentals, at current prices, 2013-23
                        • Figure 8: Total US revenues and forecast for car rentals, at current prices, 2013-23
                    • Market Breakdown

                      • Around two in 10 shoppers rented a car in the past 12 months
                        • Figure 9: Car rentals in the past 12 months, by rental purpose, Fall 2017
                      • Business renters are high-volume customers
                        • Figure 10: Number of car rentals in the past 12 months, by rental use, Fall 2017
                        • Figure 11: Rental use, by number of car rentals in the past 12 months, Fall 2017
                    • Market Perspective

                      • Ride sharing solutions encroach on car rentals
                        • Figure 12: Mobility services used, April 2016-March 2018
                        • Figure 13: Ride sharing behavior, November 2017
                    • Market Indicators

                      • Increasing gas prices raise costs and deter travel for vacation and business travelers
                        • Figure 14: US gasoline and diesel retail prices, January 2007- June 2018
                      • Economic conditions give consumers confidence to travel
                        • Figure 15: Consumer confidence and unemployment, 2000-May 2018
                    • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                      • Avis partners with Waymo to manage self-driving fleet
                        • Enterprise Holdings grows market share in 2017
                          • Revenue per vehicle in service increases in the industry
                            • USave Auto Rental System revenue falls significantly in 2017
                            • US Car Rental Market

                              • Enterprise is the leading car rental provider in the US
                                • Figure 16: 2017 car rental market, by number of locations and revenue, 2016-2017
                            • What’s Working?

                              • Enterprise Holdings most ubiquitous rental provider
                                • Enterprise’s email marketing program largest among rental agencies
                                  • Figure 17: Email marketing performance, by car rental agencies, 2017
                                  • Figure 18: Enterprise consumer acquisition email, April 2018
                                • Hertz business email marketing shows returns for business travelers
                                  • Figure 19: Hertz business rewards email, March 2018
                              • What’s Struggling?

                                • Avis Budget Group and Hertz have estimated revenue decline in 2017
                                  • U-Save Rental faces uncertain future after tumultuous 2017
                                  • What’s Next?

                                    • Avis partners with Waymo to manage fleet of self-driving cars
                                      • E-Z Rent-A-Car offers cryptocurrency as rewards
                                      • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                        • Men aged 35-54 are the prime car rental audience
                                          • Majority of car renters are infrequent customers
                                            • Millennials like to rent a car for road trips
                                              • Business travelers are the whales of the car rental industry
                                              • Mobility Services Used

                                                  • Third of consumers have rented a car in the past year
                                                    • Figure 20: Mobility services used, March 2018
                                                  • Men 35-54 have highest rates of car rental use
                                                    • Figure 21: Mobility services used, by gender and age, March 2018
                                                    • Figure 22: Mobility services used, by gender and parental status, March 2018
                                                • Car Rental Frequency

                                                    • Majority of car renters rent only up to twice a year
                                                      • Figure 23: Car rental frequency, March 2018
                                                    • Men more likely than women to rent a car three or more times
                                                      • Figure 24: Car rental frequency, by gender and age, March 2018
                                                      • Figure 25: Car rental frequency, by gender and parental status, March 2018
                                                  • Car Rental Reasons

                                                      • Majority of renters do so on vacation
                                                        • Figure 26: Car rental reasons, March 2018
                                                      • Destination rental on vacation are the top reasons
                                                        • Figure 27: Car rental reasons, March 2018
                                                      • Nearly three in 10 business renters are moderate or heavy users
                                                        • Figure 28: Car rental frequency, by car rental reasons, March 2018
                                                      • Income correlates with replacement vehicle renters
                                                        • Figure 29: Car rental reasons, by household income, March 2018
                                                    • Vacation Renters

                                                        • Majority of car renters reserve transportation for their vacation destination
                                                          • Figure 30: Vacation renters, by car rental reasons, March 2018
                                                        • Millennials make up more than half of road trip renters
                                                          • Figure 31: Generations, by vacation renters, March 2018
                                                        • Younger women over index among road trip renters
                                                          • Figure 32: Gender and age, by vacation renters, March 2018
                                                          • Figure 33: Enterprise loyalty email, May 2018
                                                        • Pricing remains paramount in vacation rental decision making
                                                          • Figure 34: Attitudes toward vacation rentals, March 2018
                                                        • Younger renters prefer to rent to drive to their destination
                                                          • Figure 35: Attitudes toward vacation rentals, by age, March 2018
                                                        • Business and vacation renters provide more lucrative opportunities
                                                          • Figure 36: Attitudes toward vacation rentals, by car rental reasons, March 2018
                                                      • Business Renters

                                                          • Quarter of business renters show varied car renting behavior
                                                            • Figure 37: Business car rental reasons, March 2018
                                                          • Men make up bulk of business renters
                                                            • Figure 38: Gender and age breakout, by type of renter, March 2018
                                                            • Figure 39: Enterprise online display ad, May 2018
                                                          • Business renters have more diverse rental history
                                                            • Figure 40: Rental companies used, by rental car reasons, March 2018
                                                            • Figure 41: Repertoire analysis of rental companies used, by car rental reasons, March 2018
                                                          • Only four in 10 business renters get to choose their preferred provider
                                                            • Figure 42: Attitudes toward business rentals
                                                          • Business renters more likely to rent smaller vehicles than vacationers
                                                            • Figure 43: Vehicle type rented, by rental car reasons, March 2018
                                                        • Vehicle Type Rented

                                                          • Sedan remains a mainstay option for car renters
                                                            • Figure 44: Vehicle type rented, March 2018
                                                          • Younger women seek fun cars to rent
                                                            • Figure 45: Vehicle type rented, by gender and age, March 2018
                                                        • Rental Companies Used

                                                          • More than half of car renters used Enterprise in the past 12 months
                                                            • Figure 46: Rental companies used, March 2018
                                                          • Third of car renters use multiple agencies
                                                            • Figure 47: Repertoire analysis of rental companies used, March 2018
                                                            • Figure 48: Car rental reasons, by repertoire analysis, March 2018
                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                          • Data sources
                                                            • Sales data
                                                              • Fan chart forecast
                                                                • Consumer survey data
                                                                  • Direct marketing creative