eMarketer Cuts Uber Forecast

Beleaguered app losing users to Lyft

Following a series of public relations scandals last year and the aggressive expansion of Lyft, eMarketer has lowered its projections for Uber usage in the US in its latest forecast on the sharing economy.

This year, 48.0 million US adults will use Uber at least once. While that’s a jump of 18% over last year, it’s lower than eMarketer’s 2017 projections. In fact, eMarketer has lowered its usage and market share estimates for Uber through 2022. Uber, however, will remain the market leader through the forecast period.

Meanwhile, Lyft, which is smaller and younger, is growing at a faster rate and narrowing the gap. In 2018, 29.9 million US adults will use Lyft at least once, an increase of nearly 41% over 2017.

“Uber’s brand image took an even bigger hit than expected as it grappled with a series of scandals and PR disasters in 2017," said Shelleen Shum, forecasting director at eMarketer. "To make things worse for Uber, Lyft—which had been rapidly expanding its coverage—seized on the opportunity to brand itself as a more socially-conscious alternative.”

Lyft’s percentage of ride-sharing users continues to increase, while Uber’s share decreases. While eMarketer expected Uber to be negatively affected by the #DeleteUber movement in early 2017, the fallout from that and other scandals about its internal culture was bigger than anticipated. In 2018, Uber will capture 77.0% of ride-sharing users, while Lyft will have 48.0%. By 2022, those shares will be 73.7% and 59.0%, respectively. There is some overlap, as some people use multiple apps.

“Lyft is now in over 300 US cities, about the number same as Uber. It has been able to take share away from its larger, scandal-plagued rival over the past year," said Shum. "It has also benefitted from being second-to-market in most cities, with Uber having already created awareness and addressed regulatory issues. Despite Lyft’s tremendous progress, Uber will still hold on to the lead with an overwhelming majority of the ride-sharing market.”

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