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Uber by the Numbers: Statistics, Usage, History

Uber Revenue Statistics - Featured Illustration

In the old days, getting a ride with a stranger meant standing by  the road and sticking your thumb out. Now you use a smartphone app.

Yes, we’re talking about the world’s biggest ride-sharing company. In a single decade, Uber has grown from an unlikely idea into a hundred-billion-dollar company that attracts investors, copycats, and passengers all over the world. 

Uber took the world by storm when it introduced a new business structure. Uber is a taxi company, but it doesn’t own any vehicles or employ any drivers. It distributes a free Uber app that connects to servers that match up drivers with passengers looking for a ride. 

After years of extraordinary growth, this innovative company set sail on Wall Street with a May 2019 IPO. Uber revenue was seriously affected by its inglorious, record-setting debut on the stock market, which stands for one of the most hyped financial events since Facebook’s debut in 2012. 

Before we relive the IPO, let’s take a look at the milestones that led analysts to value the company at $100 billion.

Key Uber revenue statistics

Uber Funding Rounds

Uber changed the way people take transport by making it more convenient, fun, and of course – cheap. So, what is Uber anyway, and when was Uber founded

While the idea of Uber was born in Paris in 2008, the company took its first steps in San Francisco where Uber headquarters are still located. In 2009 Uber tested its service in New York using only three cars and a preliminary version of the Uber application. The official launch took place in San Francisco in May 2010. The ease and simplicity of ordering a vehicle using a smartphone app led to a quick rise in popularity. In October of 2010, the Uber company received its first financial boost: 

1. First Round Capital provided Uber’s first round of investment capital: $1.25 million.

(Investopedia)

The Uber business model began to take shape about the time the company gained its first round of funding in October 2010. That same month, the company received cease-and-desist order from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which insisted that UberCab change its name. The startup reacted swiftly, dropping “Cab” from its name and purchasing the uber.com domain from Universal Music Group. 

The company grew quickly, as Uber first year revenue statistics show. In 2011 an injection of $11 million from Benchmark Capital allowed Uber to expand to Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Washington DC, and Paris. 

In December 2011 the Uber company raised more than $37 million in Series B funding from Jeff Bezos and Goldman Sachs. This was when the company decided to launch UberX, which promised lower fares using hybrid vehicles. In 2016, Uber received $3.5 billion of funding from Saudi Arabia’s Wealth Fund. With that kind of money in the bank, there was nowhere to go but up.

Uber was not public at that point, and it wasn’t required to announce annual earnings or disclose financial statements. The company kept its financial cards close to its chest until 2017, when it opened up its financial reports for the first time. Bloomberg was the first release an analysis of Uber revenue growth and annual losses. Check the following: 

Uber Revenue Growth Vs. Losses

Losses reached $991 million in the 4th quarter of 2016
Q3 2016
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Q4 2016
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["Billions of $: {y}"]

Note: Excluding China Business

Source: Uber

In 2016, Uber gross revenue was massive and growing. Gross bookings increased 28%, and Uber yearly revenue exceeded $2.9 billion. Losses rose 6.1% over the same period. Uber sales revenue by year stats were heading in the right direction, but Uber still lost a significant sum, which concerned many financial experts. 

That’s when the company launched UberPool, a ride-sharing services that matches passengers with other riders heading in the same direction. Passengers pay less; drivers make more. This shift resulted in a brighter Uber annual revenue picture:

2. Uber made the fourth quarter of 2016 a season to celebrate with a revenue increase of 76%, while losses grew only 5%.

(Bloomberg)

These numbers come with a fair number of caveats and qualifications. According to Uber, the company uses generally accepted accounting principles. However, Uber’s net revenue is only a small percentage of what Uber takes from fares. Also, it is important to note that Uber’s estimated costs don’t account for employee stock compensation, real-estate investment plans, and vehicle purchases. Yet Uber in US revenue counts the entire amount of an UberPool fare as revenue. The ride hailing pioneer was expected to surpass $5.5 billion in net revenue in 2016. However, in the third quarter, it lost more than $800 million to taxes and stock-based compensation. But it was the expansion of China’s market that had the biggest effect on Uber yearly revenue:

3. Uber’s departure from China helped slow the growth rate of its losses to less than 25% a year.

(The Information)

It’s a long story. The short version is that Uber threw in the towel on its China operations, bringing relief to loss-weary investors. The sale of UberChina brought a one-time bump in revenue to the company’s earnings report and eliminated an ongoing source of losses.

Third-quarter 2016 results were mixed, showing a slower pace of losses and increased Uber net revenue:

4. Net revenue grew to around $1.7 billion, up more than 240% from the third quarter of 2015. Revenues showed a 190% year-over-year growth rate.

(The Information)

The sale was certainly good for the bottom line:

5. Uber booked a $2.2 billion net profit by selling its Chinese subsidiary to Didi Chuxing.

(The Information)

Gross revenue rose 8% to $5.4 billion in the third quarter and more than $5 billion in the second. Uber keeps showing higher gross revenue year over year, but of course much of that is passed back to drivers. There were no Uber financial analysis reports since the company was still privately held. In the first nine months of 2016, analysts estimated that the company generated more than $3.76 billion in Uber net income. However, as Uber’s revenue grew, it continued to push hard in new markets. The investments stalled profits.

The final report for 2016 returned the company to big losses:

6. Uber recorded a $2.8 billion loss in 2016 in the middle of an aggressive global expansion, cementing its place as the private company with the biggest losses in the history of Silicon Valley.

(Financial Times)

Even though Uber service grew rapidly and reported over $6.5 billion in annual revenue, it kept raising eyebrows on how quickly it burned through cash as it expanded into new markets and pumped money into incentive payments. 

Uber revenue 2017 results reflect a tumultuous year full of scandals, lawsuits, and the ouster of its executive team. Despite the roller-coaster ride, Uber managed to make some financial progress in the fourth quarter. Yet the company continued to bleed dollars:

7. Gross revenue for the year was $37 billion, and Uber’s full-year net loss widened to $4.5 billion in 2017.

(Bloomberg)

In 2018 company introduced new accounting methods. It also introduced a new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, who vowed to reduce losses and boost revenues. Here’s what happened with Uber revenue in 2018:

8. According to the private company’s self-reported financials, full-year revenue for 2018 was $11.3 billion, up 43% year-over-year.

(Bloomberg)

The company managed to narrow losses, and revenues continued to climb, Uber growth statistics show:

9. Gross bookings grew to $50 billion for the year, up 45 percent from the prior year.

(Bloomberg)

Most companies would feel lucky to enjoy 45% annual growth, but on a quarterly basis Uber reported heavy losses and slowing growth. 

All of this leads up to Uber’s infamous stock market debut and the Uber revenue report for 2019. But before we go there, let’s take a look at another part of the story: Uber’s non-employee workforce.

Uber Driver Statistics

Uber in USA needs more than eager customers for its business structure to work. This platform wouldn’t be able to operate without Uber drivers. 

It doesn’t take much digging to uncover plenty of interesting Uber driver revenue data and other information:

Which Service You Primarily Drive For?
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["% of respondents: {y}"]

Nearly 60% of all surveyed drivers work for Uber exclusively. More than 46% of registered Uber drivers have been on the platform for less than a year. Fewer than 11% have been driving for the company for three years or more, according to Uber demographic data.

Curious about the net revenue of Uber drivers? Average monthly earnings per driver? Well, stay tuned and check out the average revenue of US Uber drivers compared to other ride sharing platforms:  

RankCompanyAverageMedian
1Airbnb$924$440
2TaskRabbit$380$110
3Lyft$377$210
4Uber$364$155
5Doordash$229$100
6Postmates$174$70
7Etsy$151$40
8Fiverr$103$60
9Getaround$98$70
Overall$299$109

Source: Buildfire

According to this, the average driver at Uber makes around $364 on a monthly basis, slightly less than the average Lyft driver. 

Here’s a more detailed picture of monthly income for Uber drivers: 

  • 45% earn $99 or less
  • 39% earn $100 – $499
  • 11% earn $1,000 – $1,499
  • 2% earn $1,500 – $1,999

(BuildFire)

As you can see, the net revenue drivers at Uber make is pretty low. Only 13% of all Uber drivers make more than $1,000 per month. 

The concept of the platform is to give drivers significant hourly earnings for part-time work. So let’s take a look at hourly rates for Uber drivers:

How much do you earn per hour before expenses?
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Source: Buildfire

According to these Uber statistics, the average Uber driver makes about $15.68 per hour. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, so these numbers don’t seem that bad. 

These figures represent an hourly rate for drivers before expenses, however. In other words, drivers need to set aside money for gasoline, insurance, depreciation, and maintenance. 

No matter how you measure it, Lyft drivers are more content with their employment compared to Uber drivers. It’s all in the numbers:

10. 75.8% of people who drive for Lyft say they are satisfied, compared to 49.4% of Uber drivers who are satisfied with their driving experience.

(BuildFire)

Drivers for Uber competitors make more and say they are happier. Lyft drivers earn an average of $17.50 an hour, and they are more satisfied at work.

Uber vs. Lyft Revenue

Not only have Uber and Lyft competed for passengers and drivers across North America, they have raced each other toward IPO day and big investments from the stock market.

By most measures, Uber growth shows a bigger and more diverse revenue stream in comparison to Lyft data. However, it seems that in some ways Lyft is showing much better results when it comes to overall growth of the company. 

Check out the following Uber compared to Lyft revenue  statistics between the two companies: 

Uber Vs. Lyft - Key Financial Metrics in 2018
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Source: Statista

*Uber’s earnings exclude proceeds from the sale of its Russia and Southeast Asia Businesses

**Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization.

Bookings refers to revenue generated from rides. Lyft data excludes taxes, tolls, and tips, while Uber revenue excludes tips only. Here we can see that 2018 gross bookings at Uber are estimated at $50 billion, while Lyft had $8.1 billion. 

In both companies, revenue is represented as bookings minus what drivers receive as earnings. Both Uber and Lyft revenue increased in 2018. Lyft revenue grew faster. 

Finally we deduct costs and expenses of both companies and show the result in Uber vs Lyft revenue  outcomes. 

Uber Today

Let’s take a look at Uber’s latest quarterly financials for a glimpse at the revenue Uber is currently generating:

Uber's Quarterly Revenue

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Source: BuildFire

Uber revenue for 2019 is on track to top $12 billion. Expenses are growing too. Let’s see the numbers for gross income:

11. Uber generated $15.76 billion in gross bookings during the second quarter of 2019.

(Uber)

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi stated in the most recent earnings report that there is a lot of capital chasing a lot of growth, and that in spite of some encouraging figures such as this one, the business is not expected to be profitable in the next year or two. 

In May, Uber priced its IPO shares at $45. However, the company reported higher expenses and lower revenues than anticipated:

12. Estimates say Uber brought in $3.17 billion in revenues for Q2 2019 versus $3.36 billion expected.

(Uber)

In its first quarterly report as a public company, Uber recorded a $1 billion loss on $3.1 billion in revenue. However, the losses jumped sky high while Uber revenue presented with unexpected growth. Check out the Uber losses:

13. Uber lost $5.24 billion in the last three months, its largest-ever quarterly loss.

(Statista)

Those were unexpected losses, the company’s highest-ever quarterly loss. Here are some of the places Uber spends money:

  • Sales and marketing – $734 million
  • General and administrative – $704 million
  • Research and development – $362 million
  • Operations and support – $344 million
  • Other operational costs – $97 million

Even though the gross bookings are growing by 34% year-over-year, Uber financials are still worrying, and the company is struggling to control expenses and earn a profit.

(Crunchbase)

Uber Going Driverless?

Uber stock prices had climbed over 8% two months after Uber’s stock debut, but fell more than 10% after the news about the company’s losses came  out. The huge losses shocked investors and are resulting in tremendous changes in Uber’s business structure. Last month the company announced that it is cutting more than 400 jobs. 

Similar announcements will be made in the course of the next year or two, according to the company’s CEO. The company’s plans include aggressive investments in growth and a change in operating costs. In other words, the company will raise the Uber rate on travel or let some drivers go. Rumors suggest the company is experimenting with driverless Ford Fusion vehicles, which could eventually become the Uber car of choice.

Uber has not given any predictions on when the revenue of Uber will offset costs and make the company profitable, but some investors are surely counting on fleets of self-driving vehicles. The technology is still new, but arguments over whether this could be the solution for Uber earnings and financial issues are already raging.

Still, if it is to happen, Uber lacks the capital needed to successfully navigate this complex transition. It has all the makings of a chicken-and-egg problem. 

FAQ

How does Uber make revenue?

Uber has managed to start a significant revenue stream by creating accessible platforms to cover supply and demand for personal transport, thus delivering value to all parties using Uber. 

How much did Uber lose in 2019?

After becoming a public company, Uber started 2019 with an expectation of $1 billion in annual losses – but it finished the year’s second quarter with more than $5.24 billion in reported losses.

What is Uber’s cost of revenue?

Uber’s most significant costs of revenue is the category that includes insurance costs, incentives paid to drivers, and costs of Uber Freight trucking carriers. 

Is Uber profitable yet?

No. Uber has more than 91 million users and it has grown steadily, but with huge annual losses, the future of Uber profit remains uncertain.

How much profit do Uber drivers make?

On average, Uber drivers make the following monthly income:

  • 45% earn $99 or less
  • 39% earn $100 – $499
  • 11% earn $1,000 – $1,499

What is Uber’s annual revenue?

Uber total revenue for 2019 is reported to be over $3 billion.

Is Uber going public?

Uber went public in May 2019 at $45 a share, near the bottom of its expected price range. The current market price is about $34 per share.

How much profit did Uber make in 2018?

Uber revenue for 2019 was $11.3 billion, which is an increase of 43% from the previous year. 

Sources

Bloomberg

BuildFire

Crunchbase

Financial Times

Investopedia

The Information

Statista

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