While lockdowns are only set to last another few weeks, not everything will be the same post-COVID – and mobility trends could be one of the changes.

Unlike the exit from previous lockdowns, Australians will have to prepare for “living with the virus” meaning things won’t be the same as when we exited with zero cases.


Post-COVID mobility means less public transport

Although people might be returning to offices and other worksites as well as to travelling, they might not commute in the same way as before.

Public transport usage has declined 80% since COVID-19 hit last year. Even earlier in 2021 when Sydney and Melbourne weren’t in lockdowns, figures were still below pre-COVID levels – 24.7% on a nationwide average basis according to Roy Morgan.

In Sydney specifically, public transport usage was down 60% from pre-COVID levels even in May before it went into the current lockdown.

At the moment it is even lower and at the very least it could take longer to recover.

TransGrid’s Urban Mobility Trends Report found in a survey of 3,000 Australians over one in five (22%) expect to decrease their use of public transport after lockdowns.

Furthermore, almost one in 10 living in metropolitan areas plan to drive to work every day post-pandemic.

Mark Avery, founder of electric vehicle start-up Bell Resources, went so far as to attribute the increase in electric vehicle use to this habit.

“People do not feel safe without a pandemic plan in place,” he said.

“Instead, what we have seen is the rise of electric vehicle sales in Australia with almost 9000 already sold this year and expected to hit 25,000 plus by next year as more and more Australians turn to private vehicle use during the pandemic and make the switch to a zero emissions future.”


Stocks that might benefit from post-COVID mobility trends

The obvious place to start is car sellers like Peter Warren Automotive (ASX:PWR), Carsales.com (ASX:CAR), Autosports Group Limited (ASX:ASG) and Eagers Automotive (ASX:APE).

You might also look at toll road operator and commissioner of the report TransUrban (ASX:TCL).

But inevitably, companies that provide car services or manufacture individual parts will expect a lift. They include National Tyre & Wheel (ASX:NTD), Bapcor (ASX:BAP), Advanced Braking Technology (ASX:ABV) and Sprintex (ASX:SIX).

Parking tech specialist Smart Parking (ASX:SPZ) is one of the more unique companies that might benefit.

Smart Parking is the name you might associate with those car park billboards showing how many spots are available, and red or green lights that save you heading down a lane where there are no spots.

It’s all powered by an Internet of Things based gateway called SmartSpots which SPZ sells to car parks.

Parkd (ASX:PKD), a company that builds carparks, could also benefit.

There are also a handful of companies that provide car loans including Latitude (ASX:LFS)Liberty (ASX:LFG), Pepper (ASX:PPM), Plenti (ASX:PLT), Harmoney (ASX:HMY) and MoneyMe (ASX:MME).

For people wanting a slightly different kind of automobile there’s motorbike specialist Motorcycle Holdings (ASX:MTO) and electric scooter seller Vmoto (ASX:VMT).

Rounding out the list of stocks that could benefit from the post-COVID mobility trend of shunning public transport are Jayride (ASX:JAY) which provides private shuttle services to and from airports, as well as A2B Australia (ASX:A2B) – the company once known as Cabcharge.

At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Sprintex, MoneyMe and Plenti are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.