Global

Mobile Apps Transforming Transportation

Jul 13, 2021

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By: Andrea Nalupa, Global Marketing

Part of our Transportation and Logistics thought leadership series

This article outlines statistics and findings around the following topics:

  • How mobile applications are positioned and used in the Transportation and Logistics industries
  • How mobile app technologies have impacted the sector
  • Successful mobile platforms in the market and their leverage

Mobile Apps in the Industry

In the advent of what has been dubbed as the era of Digital Transport, recent Deloitte research reports the emergence of mobile applications in the transportation and logistics industries. From the rise of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) and Ride-for-Hire platforms, to user-facing mobile courier and “self-moving” systems, mobile apps are empowering businesses and consumers alike across the sector – so much so that many enterprises in its industries are built on the premise of mobile transportation applications.

Market Overview

In their latest report on global revenue, the digital rider transportation segment (composed of ride-sourcing apps and digitally accessed public transit) estimates the market to be currently valued at 192 Billion USD in 2020. With a promising expected CAGR of 17.5% through 2024 combined with the projected CAGR of 8.2% of the digital logistics market as cited by Mordor Intelligence, the fundamental position mobile app platforms hold in the transforming industry becomes evident. 

Together with the promising projections, however, the market is also heavily occupied by established, advanced competition. In 2018,  the ten largest software vendors accounted for 51.8% of the global transportation applications market; uncovering a highly competitive atmosphere and a huge capital and influence gap between long-standing forerunners and newer, smaller providers.

Technologies Leveraged

Engrained within the aforementioned competition, the stakes are high for leveraging the best and most timely technologies. Businesses empowered with the latest technologies in the market are able to penetrate and stand out in the market more easily – effectively transforming the industry and the modern transport and logistics systems.

According to Mobisoft Research, platform-builders forwarding a customer-centric approach with mobile app technologies have been more rewarded in terms of consumer reception and growth in the market. Platform and business growth have been found most visible in mobile transport applications employing Artificial Intelligence, Additive Layer Manufacturing, Data Analytics, IoT, and Electric-Mobility.

 

Use in the Industry

Evidenced by MobiSoft in the same resource and latest research from The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, mobile application technologies are mainly utilized on providing passengers with faster, more convenient, and accessible services while aiding business owners increase operational speeds, productivity, efficiency, and congestion cost savings. Features including route planning, real-time tracking, online booking, and online payments have not only transformed the overall user experience, but have also significantly bettered the present transport infrastructure in terms of delivery and service speeds and data optimization. 

More specifically, mobile applications in the industry have been identified to deliver efficient service most popular in (but not limited to) the following use cases:

FOR CONSUMERS FOR BUSINESSES
Route Optimization & Planning

Equipped with traffic reporting and navigation tools, mobile apps built for route optimization aid users to select the best available route most suited to their commute preferences, current traffic situations, as well as congestion control policies.

Transport & Fleet Management

Complete with GPS Tracking, schedule monitoring, task assignment, and payment tracking, mobile apps for transport management help ride-sourcing and logistics business owners to track and manage drivers and the functions assigned to them. 

Online Booking and Tracking

Dedicated to the online booking of either transit or courier services, online booking and tracking platforms enhances customer experience with features like real-time tracking, notification alerts, online payments, reviews and feedback, among others.

Inventory Management

Applications in this case also helps manage business records and analysis on all goods that need to be transported with automated logging. This ensures error-free, prioritized, and sensitive management of products, equipment, goods, and storage.

Parking Information

Parking information apps provide real-time data on nearest available slots making parking easier for drivers traveling through a city or area. 

Transport/Delivery Schedule Optimization

Mobile applications for logistics are used to boost business efficiency by shortening transportation duration and optimizing travel routes.

Communication Channel

Mobile apps in transport are also used to  connect various stakeholders in the industry to each other. Passengers and drivers, drivers and companies, and passengers and businesses are able to communicate with the help of real-time chats and calls.

Utility Monitoring

Mobile apps are also utilized in assessing critical success factors like battery life, network coverage, engine conditions, tire health, and fuel and mileage. Utility Monitoring, by drawing intelligent, predictive signals from the collected data, promotes safe and smart transport across its users.

 

Successful Platforms

Amidst the fierce competition between thousands of applications rolled out worldwide, Monstarlab has put together a distinguished array of visionaries and leaders in the sector that fully maximize mobile app technology breakthroughs. From ride-sourcing apps to freight systems accessible through smartphones, the following model platforms exhibit exemplary performance and enjoy exponential growth and exceptional consumer reception.

Transportation

Within the digital rider transportation segment, three applications and providers have gained large amounts of support as well as significant stature in the market.

Uber [Ride Hailing]

Among the best-reviewed global providers at its scale, Uber has been downloaded more than 500 Million times since inception in the Google Play Store and more than 2 Million times in App Store just in July. According to Forbes, the 9-year-old business was able to obtain and sustain its current position in the market by realizing a convenient, cashless transport system booked online. Combined with in-app safety toolkits, airport services, and continuously developing ride hailing features, Uber technologies remain the biggest enablers of the company’s dominance in its field.

With an average rating of 4.7 stars in App Store and 3.9 stars in Google Play Store,  earning a total revenue of $3.5 billion in 2019 according to Forbes, and now servicing more than 600 airports and in 700+ cities around the world, Uber continues to endure and even exploit rapid developments in the market.

Lyft [Ride Sharing]

Quickly gaining fame for multi-modal transport options, Lyft is gaining visibility for its ride sharing offerings. Also known for its easily navigable, transparent, and compact interface that allows a 2-step ride booking process, location sharing, and accurate fare calculations, the mobile app already boasts 10 Million downloads in the Google Play Store alone.

As of writing, more than 120,000 users have already awarded the app a five-star rating in the Google Play Store. Evident in user reviews, with Lyft’s promise of continuous and genuine innovation implemented through its flagship features, public support and expectations remain high for this growing enterprise.

Moovit [Route & Transit Planning]

Dubbed the #1 Mobility App by Google, this one-stop app navigating public transit in 99 countries and in 45 languages is gaining traction in the business centers of England, USA, Italy, Australia, and even Asia. 

Enjoyed by in excess of 720 Million users, Moovit provides real-time information on  updated bus and train schedules, transit maps, and line arrivals. Enhancing the digital commute experience with live navigation, destination alighting alerts, and upcoming train prompts, Moovit has also been named  by the Google Play and App Stores as one of the best apps of the year in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Scandlines [Travel Planning]

Another innovative company, Scandlines, has created their self-titled app that offers a seamless and convenient way to plan their travels digitally in partnership with Monstarlab. Providing 15 million ferry passengers swift booking options, online loyalty programmes and optimised ferry routes, this timely upgrade in their digital experience is fast tracking their growing success in Copenhagen.

With operations of 90,000 departures a year, the easier tracked timetables and tickets and the speedier booking process are certainly boosting the company’s popularity and growth. 

Logistics

Mobile application technologies have also offered and afforded the logistics industries transformative opportunities and unprecedented growth.

U-Haul [Moving Services]

A logistics giant since 1945, U-Haul has deeply and successfully penetrated the digital logistics market with its mobile app in August 2017. Promoting round-the-clock service allowing users to pick up, pay and locate trucks as well as access verifying and vetting technology to monitor moving conditions, U-Haul’s mobile application proves the largest technology initiative for the customer-moving company since the late ‘90s.

Unlike other self-moving platforms, the app is built to maximize existing features of popular smartphone devices with a single platform installation. With mobile data, a phone camera, and GPS, truck booking, contract signing, bill payment, and even the 30-second shipment verification are made possible and made compact for users of the U-Haul truck-hiring platform. As of 2020, there have been more than a million recorded downloads across Android and iOS platforms – indicative of the app’s success in satisfying customers and aiding business operations in its 3-year run . 

Fed-Ex [Local and International Shipping Services]

The highest-rated shipping mobile platform of its size for iOS, Fed-Ex has been downloaded on more than 10 Million accounts in both Google Play and Apple App Stores. Strengthening the company’s foothold in the logistics business, the mobile app takes full advantage of modern technologies augmenting the customer experience.

Popularized by the global shipping label, the FedEx Mobile app allows users to easily track shipment status, manage packages, quickly calculate rates, locate pickup or drop off locations, scan barcodes, and view rewards. Analytically, the very high 4.8 average rating in the App Store and competitive 4.0 rating in Play Store suggests that Fed-Ex is going the right direction with its initiatives. 

UPS [Local Courier Services]

The 22nd biggest app in Apple’s App Store and used by more than 11 Million mobile accounts, UPS Mobile is a strong contender in the international shipping venture. With a competitive average rating of 4.5 and 4.1 stars in the Apple  App and Google Play Stores respectively, UPS has established its spot among the biggest companies made even bigger by their adaptive digital strategy.

Similar to the FedEx Mobile application, UPS allows its users to conveniently create shipments, follow deliveries in transit, update delivery details, and estimate shipping costs and delivery times. However, UPS maintains an edge with its in-app measuring tool that requires only an average-quality phone camera.

In hindsight, early players and risk-takers in both the commute and logistics mobile services markets convene in the frontlines and top ranks in revenue. Undoubtedly, large yet cost-effective investments have been made in pursuit of where the aforementioned institutions are now. However, taking a comprehensive and critical look at the bigger picture, these technological investments are proving worthwhile.

Conclusion

The constant fast-paced upgradation in mobile app development for transport and logistics is likely to continue accelerating in the increasingly saturated market in the following years. However, alongside such rapid evolution, opportunities to increase profitability, optimized results, and better user experience are improving and expanding in equal levels.

In careful analysis of the research and model platforms shared in this report, Monstarlab finds that the opportunity to grow within a highly competitive market spread wide across the globe lies in prioritized allocation and innovative use of mobile application technologies. As technology is growing rapidly and new featured functionalities are introduced daily, more than the implementation of advanced technological tools, goal-aligned innovative technology use and how it improves operations and user experience are what truly transform the industry.

Read more insights and see some of our works on the Transportation and Logistics vertical here

Endnotes

  • Deloitte, “Transportation trends 2020”, 2020
  • Deloitte, “Understanding COVID-19’s impact on transport organizations”, 2020
  • Forbes, “Traffic Congestion Costs U.S. Cities Billions Of Dollars Every Year [Infographic]”, 2020
  • Mobisoft Information Technologies, “Development Of Smartphone Application: Impacts On Logistics And Transportation Industry”, 2020
  • Mobisoft Information Technologies, “Logistics Apps: Potential To Mobilize The Entire Industry”, 2020 
  • Mordor Intelligence, “Digital Logistics Market – Growth, Trends and Forecasts (2020 – 2025)”, 2019
  • National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, “Critical Issues in Transportation 2019: Policy Snapshot”, 2019
  • Statista, “Transportation and Logistics Statistics and Market Data”, 2020
  • Statista, “Shipper views on must-have 3PL IT-based capabilities in 2019, ranked by the most needed capabilities”, 2020 

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