State of the RAC/Short-Term Rental Market in Spain, Italy, and Germany

Source: Dataforce

The three markets of focus by Dataforce are Spain, Italy, and Germany. But why Germany? Well in terms of the RAC/short-term rental market there is no larger registration nation in Europe than Germany. Not naturally the first country to spring to mind, but in 2020 Germany registered a little under 300,000 passenger car vehicles. This came despite the year's obvious issues and this was over double the volume of the next biggest country in terms of RAC registrations, France. Though the impact of COVID-19 meant this was still down over 30% from 2019 data.   

Rental car registrations in both Spain and Italy have a more accentuated seasonality than Germany due in part to the flow of tourist in and around the summer months. From 2016 to 2019, we see 77.9% and 78.3% of all RAC registrations coming in the first 6 months for Spain and Italy respectively. Taking 2019 as a baseline the Spanish market (slightly larger than Italy) saw almost 250,000 registrations while In Italy it was over 175,000 registrations. Fast forward to the end of 2020 and we see Italy was down 50.8% over 2019 and Spain contracting by massive 59.7%.

2021 Calendar Year

So how is the market in 2021? Well given that the seasonality in Spain and Italy see a large portion of RAC regs coming in the 1st HY this is perhaps a good gauge on progress of recovery. 2021 YTD compared to 2020 sees the Spanish market with the strongest recovery, up by 98.8% this equates to over 55,000 more registrations. Italy follows but while an increase is visible, up by 21.9%, the recovery is still gathering pace. Germany is also up by 20.2%. With less of a seasonality than Spanish or Italian markets and with a smaller impact in 2020 it shows the smallest overall volume loss when comparing 2021 vs 2019 YTD. Perhaps highlighting that a large portion of the RAC/STR market in Germany comes as a result of other economic drivers, other than tourism or (while still affected) business travel.

Mediterranean Islands (Italy) vs. Atlantic Islands (Spain)

We investigated the figures for Sardinia and Sicily and also the Canary Islands to see just how things are going in these tourist spots and the registrations are painting a sunnier picture than 2020. The Italian Islands are currently up by 109.8% 2021 YTD over 2020 and it seems that the chances of hiring Hybrid, PHEV or Electric car have also increased. There are more registrations in 2021YTD than in both the full years of 2019 and 2020 combined.

Spain’s Canary Islands, in keeping with the RAC market through all of Spain, has also fared well. Up by 86.3% for January-June 2021, the Atlantic islands are also doing their bit in regard to the lowering of CO2 emissions. YTD 2021 sees PHEVs registering three times the cars than in full year of 2020 and both hybrid and electric with 52.5% and 68.3% increases respectively.