The Steady Rise of Uber in the USA
3 mins

Growth by the Numbers

In our Quettra 2015 Q2: State of Mobile Report, we noted that Uber’s success in the USA has taken the sharing economy to the next level. In this year’s first quarter in the USA, Uber saw an impressive install growth rate of 1.4% which surpassed its arch competitor Lyft. The install penetration of Uber rose 8% from 12% in the first quarter to 20% in the second quarter.

Install Penetration of Taxi Apps in USA

Install Penetration of Taxi Apps in USA
Raw Data: Install Penetration of Taxi Apps in USA

Growth in Workforce

The popularity of Uber among Americans is seen in not only on the demand side, but also on the supply side. In December 2014, Uber is reported to have added 40,000 new drivers to its workforce. Uber’s report released in January called An Analysis of the Labor Market for Uber’s Driver-Partners in the United States, further shows a staggering growth of its pool of drivers from July 2012.. As the demand grows, Uber is ramping up its workforce and attracting new drivers.

Number of Active Driver-Partners in the US Each Month

Uber: An Analysis of the Labor Market for Uber’s Driver-Partners in the United States (source)

Rampant Adaptation by Business Travelers

In a study by the expense management system provider Certify on July 16, 2015, 55% of ground transportation receipts were for Uber while only 43% were for taxi services. According to the report, this data point is trending upward, as Uber for business travelers is continuously on the rise. From Q2 2014 to Q2 2015, the percentage of Uber usage for business travel has increased by 23%.

Certify released usage statistics for Uber and taxi apps, and the data can be seen in the graph below. Uber is eclipsing taxis with regards to car based business travel services.

Ridesharing Usage

Data from Certify: Room for More: Business Travelers Embrace the Sharing Economy (source)

According to Certify’s list of the U.S. cities with the highest amount of Uber customers, San Francisco tops it at 79%. Dallas (60%) and Los Angeles (54%) follow in second and third place. Chicago has seen a 132% gain in Uber users, while Miami has gained 83% more Uber users. While taxis are holding their ground in other large metropolitan cities, the trend is leaning towards Uber dominating the market as a whole.

Beyond the USA: Uber Expanding its Global Reach

Although the growth rate has gone down to 0.3% this quarter, Uber is spreading its global reach. As we reported in our recent report Mobile App Landscape: India Insights June 2015, in this quarter, Uber saw a huge install and usage growth in India, and it is all geared up to compete with local leader Ola Cabs.

Uber’s Customer Acquisition is on Fire, but can it Retain Users?

Globally, 86% of both Uber and Lyft users become inactive in the first three days of installing the app. This is lower than the average that we previously reported, which is that most apps experience a 77% drop of daily active users in the first three days after installation. The three-day usage retention drop of taxi apps tends higher than other communication apps as they have less frequent usage. We therefore looked at a four month retention window to get a better sense of retained users. We observed that Uber and Lyft have very similar retention curves. Given Uber’s continued success globally, this suggests that its acquisition and install rates are higher than their usage numbers.

Uber will need to focus on retention to compete with Lyft, its top competitor in the USA. Wefi, an analytics company, published a study which found that users who have Lyft installed are consistently more likely to open it than those who have Uber installed. This was based on data from 104,000 Android devices in the U.S. that had a ride-hailing app installed in the first five months of 2015.

128-Day Retention

Lyft and Uber App Usage

Ridesharing Usage

Data from Wefi: People who have Lyft installed are more likely to use the app than Uber (source)

What’s next?

Uber is now a tech giant worth over $40 Billion. It has sky rocketed in its user acquisition and is growing in over 60 countries. Its workforce is growing in leaps and bounds and is expected to hit an annual revenue of $10 billion by the end of 2015 according to Business Insider (source). Uber has been surrounded with controversies over driver regulation and recently there has been speculation over Uber’s operating costs (source). With a few bumps in the road, the question is what can Uber do to retain its users, compete with other global competitors and drive economic success. Stay tuned with Quettra, as we uncover Uber’s tracks.