OneChart Relaunch 🔄

Here are the ten most insightful data charts from Q1 2024, decoding the future of the travel and mobility industries.

OneChart Relaunch 🔄

Hey Data Friends 👋,

It’s been several months since our last rendezvous through OneChart – November last year, to be exact! 

My winter was packed with massive projects at my Research+Attitude service business, which meant OneChart had to take a little nap. 

But guess what? We’re waking up from hibernation, and things have taken a new turn.

🔄 First off, you’ve probably noticed OneChart’s got a fresh new look. Hope you’re loving the visual overhaul as much as I do! Kudos to my friends at ILLU. ❤️

🎯 More importantly, there’s a big shift in our journey together. OneChart is now zooming in exclusively on the Travel and Mobility sectors. 

Why the shift? 

  • My day-to-day is deeply immersed in Travel and Mobility, thanks to all the work at Research+Attitude, including my ongoing adventures with Lufthansa Innovation Hub's TNMT research platform.
  • I’m constantly knee-deep in these industries, collaborating with some of the most visionary clients and partners from these sectors. It only makes sense to align OneChart closer to my daily playing field.

So, what does this mean for you? 

📈Moving forward, OneChart is your monthly ticket to the crème de la crème of best data charts lighting up the future of Travel+Mobility.

I’ll be sharing the killer charts I come across in my daily grind (some of which are crafted by the Research+Attitude team and myself for full disclosure).

  • For those of you who live and breathe Travel+Mobility, or have connected with me through TNMT, I’m eager to bring you focused insights into the sectors you care about the most.
  • For anyone who might not vibe with this narrowed focus, no hard feelings at all–I totally get it if you choose to unsubscribe.

For everyone else who’s on board for this more specialized journey, get ready! 

Here are the top ten charts on Travel+Mobility from the past three months that you don’t want to miss.

Chart #1: The Flight vs. Rail Debate: A European Travel Comparison ✈️🚆

At the heart of the climate debate stands a pressing question: Should trains increasingly replace air travel to reduce our carbon footprint? 

The Financial Times steps into this debate with a revealing comparison between rail and air travel across popular European routes.

What does the data tell us? 

Despite significant investments in rail infrastructure and more competition among rail providers, taking the train for inter-city European travel remains much slower and more costly than flying.

An important caveat in this analysis, though, is that the authors didn't account for the journey to and from the airport—a detail that doesn't entirely complete the picture.

Nevertheless, the chart challenges the notion that rail could be a straightforward and commercially viable substitute for air travel.

While the environmental benefits of rail travel are clear, the practicality of swapping planes for trains isn't as black and white as it seems.

Chart #2: The Disconnect in Airline Sustainability Efforts ✈️🌱

While the practicality of replacing flights with trains in Europe, especially for time-critical business travel, remains debatable, the pressing need for the airline industry to innovate towards cleaner technologies like Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), electric flying, and other “green” alternatives is undeniable. 

The question, however, is whether the industry's actions match its ambitious marketing messages about moving towards net-zero emissions.

An analysis by the Sustainable Aero Lab underscores a worrying trend: 

While airlines are increasingly vocal about their commitment to sustainability, with press releases on ambitious net-zero targets surging since 2021, the actual number of sustainability projects has seen a decline over the same period.

This suggests that, despite the growing public and regulatory pressure for greener aviation, the industry's progress towards tangible sustainability initiatives is slowing. Ouch.

Chart #3: Airline Delays in the Spotlight ⏱️✈️

While the pressure to decarbonize is intense, airlines face another critical challenge that's frustrating travelers: the ongoing issue of flight delays.

More and more travelers are getting increasingly frustrated with flights that are often late or canceled.

A recent analysis by Lufthansa Innovation Hub’s Sid Mehra, who sifted through tens of thousands of Tripadvisor airline reviews, unveiled a concerning trend:

  • Over one-third of all online customer feedback now mentions flight irregularities.
  • This is a significant increase from "only" 20% four years ago, highlighting a growing operational problem in the industry.

With traveler patience thinning, how the industry addresses these operational challenges will be key to preserving customer trust and loyalty in an age of soaring expectations.

Chart #4: Welcome to the Era of The School Pickup Line. 🚗🎒

Let’s leave the skies for more grounded insights. 

In the broader conversation about sustainability and urban transportation, the narrative often leans towards shared mobility as the future, poised to reduce or even replace private car ownership. 

However, reality paints a different picture, especially when observing how students in the United States get to school.

The Washington Post found out that over half of the students in the U.S. are getting dropped off at school or driving themselves, marking the highest private-vehicle share recorded to date. 

And the alternatives? Biking and walking are losing ground dramatically.

This trend raises questions about our progress towards a more sustainable, shared mobility future and reflects broader societal shifts in transportation preferences.

The implications extend far beyond the environmental impact; they touch on urban planning, public health, and even community cohesion. 

Chart #5, 6, 7, and 8: A Quadruple View on EV Progress 🔌🚘

As shared mobility options alone won't cut it to make our transport landscape more sustainable, the pivot needs to focus on transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric ones. 

Nat Bullard, a tech analyst whose insights I greatly admire, unveiled compelling data in his latest Decarbonization Deck

The presentation paints a vivid picture of the electric vehicle (EV) market's current state and trajectory. 

Here are my favorite four charts:

#1: EV Sales Skyrocket in 2023

The year 2023 marked another record-breaking milestone for the EV market, with global sales surging by 34% compared to 2022. 

#2: The Battery Price Trend

The EV growth is fueled by a critical factor: the cost of batteries, which, after a brief hike in 2022, has resumed its long-term decline, making EVs more accessible.

#3: Not enough cheap EVs

However, despite the drop in battery prices, consumers in Europe and North America have extremely limited options when it comes to more affordable EV models.

This situation is totally different in China.

With over 120 EV models available for under $30,000, China is miles ahead in offering a diverse and economically accessible EV portfolio.

#4: The New Leading Car Exporter

China's dominant role in the EV landscape is further underscored by its newfound status as the world's top car exporter, surpassing traditional automotive giants like Germany and Japan. 

This scenario would have been unimaginable 20 years ago.

Chart #9: China's Tech Dominance 🇨🇳🌏

Continuing the conversation on China's impactful presence in the EV sector, their technological ambition doesn't stop there. 

According to UP.Partner's 2024 Moving World Report, China is leading the global technology race in 37 out of 44 critical technology areas (like AI, manufacturing, and energy) and significantly outstripping the U.S., which leads in just 7. 

This staggering lead underscores a broader shift in the geopolitical tech race, with the balance of innovation and technological prowess increasingly tilting towards the Far East. 

Chart #10: The Surprising Comeback of Cruise Vacations 🚢 💼

Let’s now make a final switch, this time from land to sea.

Who would have thought? During the early days of COVID-19, when cruise ships were making headlines as floating quarantine centers, many predicted the industry's potential collapse. 

Yet, here we are, witnessing a vigorous recovery post-pandemic. Against all odds, the cruise ship industry isn’t just still afloat; it’s sailing towards record revenues and earnings.

  • Interestingly, it’s not just the Baby Boomers fueling this comeback, according to YouGov.
  • Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, are increasingly casting off old stereotypes and embracing the cruise life. 
  • Today, over a third of Millennials express interest in setting sail for their next vacation—a significant uptake from less than a quarter just three years ago.

While the cruise industry's recovery and evolving demographics paint a promising picture for its future, the sustainability question remains unanswered.

Cruise ships, notorious for their substantial CO2 emissions—easily surpassing even those of aviation on a per-passenger basis—pose a significant challenge in the global decarbonization effort.

Extra Chart: Which Founders' Backgrounds Lead to Unicorn Dreams 👩🏻‍🎓🦄

For today's final chart, I want to circle back to the aviation industry.

I stumbled upon this intriguing study by Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. 

Their research delves into the academic backgrounds that contribute to the likelihood of building unicorn companies.

Astoundingly, individuals with an aerospace background are more well-equipped for this entrepreneurial challenge than those with any other field of study. 

  • They boast a 1.7x higher likelihood of founding a unicorn company compared to their peers from other disciplines. 
  • To put this in perspective: graduates in Medicine and Computer Science are clearly behind, each with a 1.4x increased chance of achieving that prestigious billion-dollar valuation.
  • Conversely, alumni of Political Science, Biology, and Law see a much steeper climb towards unicorn status.

While the study doesn't specify whether these aerospace experts launched their unicorn ventures within the aerospace sector, I find this insight fuels optimism.

It suggests aerospace and the closely related aviation industry might soon witness the emergence of pioneering companies ready to fast-track their journey toward sustainability. 

I know, drawing this connection might seem a bit of a far stretch, but it paints an optimistic outlook that I wanted to share to end this OneChart edition. Pardon me.

Thanks for joining me in this new OneChart style. 

If you found these insights interesting, please share this email with your friends and colleagues and help spread the word.

See you next month. Cheers, Lennart