Uber and Lyft Have a New, Old Competitor

Nov 06, 2021

The concept of ridesharing really is wild if you think about it.

You summon a stranger, get in their car, and have them drive you somewhere… in many cases, to your own home.

Yet more than a million people were active rideshare users by 2019. Uber holds the lion’s share of this pot, with nearly 70% of the market share.

Why were we all so willing to jump in the car? Three main reasons:

  • Cost — Ridesharing options were perceived as more affordable versus traditional taxi services and rental options.
  • Availability — In many areas (especially nonurban centers) ridesharing services were more accessible than traditional taxis.
  • Ease of Use — With cellphones glued to our hands, getting a ride home was a tap away on an easy-to-use app versus calling and scheduling a taxi. Who do you even call?

But now, LikeFolio data suggests the tide may be turning. The chart below showcases mention growth for digital ridesharing services Uber and Lyft versus traditional taxis.

Wow.

Why are taxis making a comeback?

Uber and Lyft are losing the edges that initially helped onboard customers in the first place: cost, availability, and ease of use.

A diminishing pool of drivers alongside rising demand has created an imbalance in the marketplace.

Consumer mentions indicating that prices have risen for an Uber or Lyft have increased 70% YoY. And these riders aren’t crazy: The cost of a ride from Uber or Lyft increased +92% from January 2018 to July 2021, according to external research.

In fact, the price increases have gotten so bad that Uber is bringing back carpooling as a way for its customers to save cash.

In addition, the number of mentions from consumers indicating that an Uber or Lyft is unavailable has increased +31% YoY.

Meanwhile, many taxis are going digital via well-known aggregators, like Curb.

To be fair, Uber and Lyft both continue to dominate taxi mentions when it comes to total volume.

However, the consumer is stressed and, data suggests, not necessarily brand loyal.

Demand is returning for ride services. But Lyft and Uber may have work to do in the near term to keep consumers happy… and using their apps.

I discussed all of this and more on the TD Ameritrade Network earlier this week.

Enjoy!

Andy Swan,
Founder, LikeFolio