Uber vs Lyft

by Kevin Holesh

Whenever I see good or bad news about a specific app, I’m always curious to see how things will shake out in the long run. I immediately want to dive into the app usage data from Moment the next day, but it’s always better if I let it simmer for a month.

Here’s the latest question I’m tackling: Did Uber’s recent showings in the news (sexual harassment, ties to Trump administration, stealing secrets, CEO yelling at a driver, etc) hurt its business?

To answer this, I’m going to compare Uber’s app usage to its closest competitor, Lyft. I’m drawing a line in the sand when #BoycottUber started trending. I want to compare the time period before that (9/14/16 to 1/25/17), during (1/26/17 to 2/2/17), and after (2/3/17 to today).

Let’s start by taking a look at the apps’ daily usage numbers:

Chart showing Uber and Lyft’s daily usage from 9/14/16 to 3/15/17

From that graph, I’m not seeing a big difference before, during, and after #BoycottUber. However, this graph doesn’t take into account how many people are using each app.

This one does:

Chart showing Uber and Lyft’s daily active users from 9/14/16 to 3/15/17

Uber still has more users than Lyft, but Uber’s market share is shrinking and Lyft’s is increasing.

Here’s the specific data:

Table showing Uber and Lyft’s daily users from 9/14/16 to 3/15/17, before, during, and after #BoycottUber

Over the course of the last 6 months, Uber’s active users have decreased 9.43%, taking a big 20.51% hit when #BoycottUber was trending. All of Uber’s negative press is completely stopping its growth and causing it to lose active users.

In the meantime, Lyft’s active users have increased 40.29%. Lyft is benefitting tremendously from Uber’s missteps.

My advice to Uber: stay out of the press for a while. Turns out not all press is good press.