Has ride-sharing giant Uber jumped the shark?
If there’s one thing Uber has monopolized in the past few years, it’s negative publicity – everything from driver problems to management turnover to sexual harassment, not to mention vitriolic opposition from licensed taxi drivers and city officials in many places.
Still, Uber has surged ahead in market share everywhere it went, blowing taxi companies out of the water and facing little significant competition in its app-based business model except for Lyft – and Lyft has been running a distant second.
But that could be changing. Certify, which provides business travel expense management software for companies, has started to see some weakness for Uber’s business.
In a report on business travel spending patterns for the third quarter of 2017, Certify said that in some major U.S. metropolitan areas, it discovered a shift in ground transportation spending market shares, “with Uber losing between 1 percent and 8 percent, and corresponding gains for Lyft.”
In San Francisco, where both companies are based, Certify tracked the biggest third-quarter decline in Uber’s local market share – down 8 percent – and the biggest gain for Lyft, up 9 percent. “The number two ride-hailing provider (i.e. Lyft) also improved in user review rankings, reaching 4.76 stars to Uber’s 4.1 and taxis’ 3.59,” Certify said.
Overall, Uber’s share of ground transportation spending in the third quarter dropped one point from the previous quarter, to 54 percent – its first drop ever – while Lyft’s share rose 3 points to 11 percent. Car rental companies’ share dropped a point to 28 percent, and taxis fell from 8 to 7 percent.
But in spite of “overall trends indicating a slight downturn for Uber,” Certify said, it remains “the number one vendor in business travel ground transportation and the most expensed brand of any category in the Certify system for the third quarter of 2017 — more than double second place Starbucks as a share of transactions.”
Another interesting Uber factoid emerged from the Certify study. The new Uber feature that allows customers to tip their drivers through the app is “off to a slow start,” Certify said: Only 3 percent of Uber riders used the tipping feature, giving drivers an average tip of $3.10.
If you click on the link to the report in the previous paragraph, you can scroll down to see business travelers’ third quarter spending percentages on specific brands of restaurants, airlines, hotels, and rental car companies, and the average spend per transaction for each one.
Readers: Have your ride-hailing preferences changed between Uber and Lyft? If so, why? Which one is your favorite?
Disclosure: Lyft has sponsored the TravelSkills blog within the last year but did not sponsor this post.
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