Coronavirus Hotspots Put the Brakes on Uber’s and Lyft’s Recoveries

Uber and Lyft saw ride bookings rise in Q3 as most states re-opened businesses, including restaurants and bars, albeit with social distancing and mask-wearing requirements still in place. But new coronavirus outbreaks in some areas are slowing booking growth, and the prospect of a second wave of infections nationwide threatens to derail their recoveries entirely. 

According to our just-released Beacon by 7Park Ridesharing Preview leveraging email receipt data, Uber’s booking growth in Q3 accelerated 18.9% to -63.8% Y/Y, with modest sequential improvement each month. Lyft saw a similar trend with a 21.6% acceleration to -59.9% Y/Y.

The companies’ bookings growth rates are correlated to coronavirus infections, and the data shows just how susceptible Uber and Lyft are to the management of the virus at an individual city level.

Uber and Lyft have outperformed their overall bookings rates in New York City by ~16% and ~18%, respectively. This is likely attributable to successful coronavirus containment (although the governor recently ordered parts of the city to close non-businesses due to a new rise of cases). At the other end of the spectrum, Los Angeles and San Francisco are performing 10% below the company average for both platforms and show the slowest pace of recovery. 

Although consumers still appear agnostic between the two platforms on a nationwide basis, Lyft had captured small market shares in virtually all large cities at Uber’s expense. However,  Uber has maintained its overall market share (over 60% of the total ridesharing market) by attracting more riders in smaller cities.


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