If you are grasping for any signs that the U.S. or global economies have a heartbeat, then consider that Uber's rideshare revenue has been ticking upwards in the past two weeks after plummeting over the past two months. No, this is not the same as China reopening or a promising coronavirus vaccine in the making, but at this point we'll latch onto almost anything.
If you are desperate for any glimmers of hope despite much of the economy tanking, then consider that Uber’s rideshare revenue in the United States increased an estimated 52 percent last week compared with a week earlier.
That’s according to information Skift obtained from Tel Aviv-based consumer data company Superfly Insights, which tracked Uber receipts from a panel of 25,000 U.S. consumers for the week ending April 19 versus the week ending April 12.
Uber rideshare revenue had jumped 10.2 percent during the week ending April 12 versus the week that closed April 5, Superfly found.
Estimate of Uber U.S. Rideshare Revenue Percentage Change 2/3-4/19/2020
Superfly Insights CEO Jonathan Meiri said it wouldn’t be prudent to overplay the significance of a two-week trend, adding that it would take many weeks of 50 percent growth for Uber rideshare revenue to recover to a peak in the last week of February.
“Uber was the canary in the coal mine for entering Covid and the financial collapse that ensued,” Meiri said. “Like the infamous Big Mac Index, Uber data showed how hundreds of cities are shutting down. Two weeks of growth from such a small base is a very, very early signal for anything, but I think it is safe to say that people are starting to come out of the woodwork.”
Uber didn’t respond directly to the implications of the Superfly Insights data. An Uber spokesperson said: “Our teams are working 24/7 to assist public health authorities in their response to the pandemic. These efforts include: displaying in-app messages reminding riders to travel only when necessary and encouraging riders and drivers to take steps to protect themselves. We’re also providing delivery safety information in the Uber Eats app, in line with guidance from the World Health Organization.”
This Uber data from Superfly Insights came as Uber disclosed Monday it would be taking $1.9-$2.2 billion in impairment charges on some of its minority investments — in companies such as Didi, Grab and Yandex —because of their pandemic-induced diminished value in the first quarter, and Uber withdrew guidance on gross bookings, revenue and profits.
Uber Weekly Rideshare Revenue Change in Big U.S. Cities 1/27-4/19/2020
This Superfly Insights chart depicts Uber rideshare revenue changes in major U.S. cities such as San Francisco, New York, and Las Vegas. (The numbers depict how the amount of revenue generated panel members who paid for Uber rides changed from week to week.)
Superfly Insights also tracked Uber rides globally as its consumer panel had representatives everywhere from Brazil and Egypt to Mexico and India.
During the week ending April 19, for example, the number of Uber rides grew 2.2 percent globally, according to Superfly’s numbers. That global number in aggregate seemed to be much lower than the U.S. spurt in the past week.
Uber’s U.S. rideshare growth in the U.S. could be a reflection of certain cities and states around the country loosening lockdown restrictions, and people sporadically feeling more comfortable about getting into a car.
Uber clearly is not trying to drum up demand at this point. It has been running a TV commercial globally called Thank You for Not Riding. “Stay home for everyone who can’t,” the ad advises viewers near the end of the spot.
Uber has pledged to give 10 million free rides and deliveries to healthcare workers, seniors, “and people in need around the world” because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Note: This story has been updated to add a comment from Uber.
Photo credit: More people took Uber rides during the week ending April 19, 2020 in the U.S. and around the globe. 285709 / 285709