29 May 18

Outlook on macro-economics at Global Fleet Conference

Global Fleet Conference 2018 in Rome was kicked off with a talk about the macro-economic outlook of the near future and a look at how this could impact the vehicle fleet and urban mobility industries.

Among the affecting factors are human demographics, the global economy, climate change, and technological developments, according to Bruno Colmant (pictured) who is head of macro research and executive board member for Bank Degroof Petercam.

In terms of demographics, four things are increasing, being the population, the number of people living in urban areas, the average age of society, and the percentage of people working from home.

By 2040, the world population should increase to some 29% to 8.9bn from 7bn and the percentage of those living in urban areas should reach 65% from just over 50% today. As for the aging population, this will mostly be seen in Europe but also in the United States, Brazil, China, and Russia.

Keep in mind that this aging population has faced two economic crises (2000 and 2008) so they are saving more money for their retirement than previous generations, and this is hindering economic growth to some extent today.

“However, it is this preparedness along with low interest rates which reduces the risk of a future crisis and I do see new things in the upcoming years due to the innovative ideas by the younger generation,” Colmant said, adding that these ideas are not restricted to the advanced economies.

From a vehicle and urban mobility point of view, as older people and those who work from home reduces the demand of vehicles, professionals in the industry should prepare for a change to a sharing society (e.g. Uber Pool, peer-to-peer sharing, bike-sharing), many of which are being pushed by young entrepreneurs.

Source: US Census Bureau

Colmant also pointed out that one of the biggest problems we need to address is climate change. However, electric cars is not the panacea. Extracting raw materials will not solve the problem,”said the executive, adding that using nuclear energy could be an option.

Finally, Colmant’s last words to OEM’s and other vehicle related companies was to plan approximately 20 years into the future. However, be prepared for various outcomes as the ever-changing market should bring volatility over the coming years.



Authored by: Daniel Bland