While once an iconic status symbol, the stretch limo has faded from widespread use and now makes up a small portion of limo services today.
- A decade ago, stretch limos made up 10% of all limo services—but today, they account for less than 1%.
- Changing spending habits and new ride-share options have decreased the number of customers willing to pay for luxury limo services.
- Celebrities who may prefer to go unnoticed in public have started opting for less noticeable transportation.
Why it’s news
Chauffeur services were once relegated to limo companies, but Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare businesses have expanded the market to include nearly everyone. Stretch limousines could not compete with the lower cost of ridesharing.
The Great Recession, followed by crashes in 2015 and 2018, has also caused many would-be customers to reconsider their spending habits. Customers would prefer to spend their money elsewhere when transportation is available for a much lower cost.
Limos were once an iconic status symbol, but with the rise of the internet, celebrities and notable figures have had less privacy than ever before. Limos are a reliable way to get noticed—something these customers may not want.
For celebrities who still want attention, there is no need to use a limousine to get crowds to look their way—they just need to make a social media post. Limos represent an extra cost and are difficult to navigate in crowded cities.
But using transport to stand out may not be gone forever. For example, a group of high schoolers in Portland, Oregon, arrived at their prom in a World War II tank.