Rideshares Lyft Amid Reopenings — Bodes Well For Uber

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Lyft and Uber are becoming — as time goes on — significantly different companies.

Lyft, it might be said, has stuck to its core knitting of ridesharing, while Uber has broadened its scope, focus and reach to embrace (and help deepen) the platform economy.

Lyft’s first-quarter earnings results announced Tuesday (May 4) showed a tailwind from economies that are reopening. The read-across should also be positive for Uber, which has been busy over the past few years wrapping new services around its own ride hailing segments.

In terms of top-line numbers, the consolidated revenues came in at $609 million, a steep slide from the $956 million seen in the first quarter of last year, but 11 percent better than the $550 million that had marked the midpoint of previous guidance. That latest reading was also up 7 percent sequentially. Wall Street analysts had been looking for about $559 million in revenues.

Rebounding Rides

To get a sense of how things are rebounding across the company’s key operations, supplemental materials showed that active riders were up 8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2020, to 13.5 million riders. The rideshare recovery is evident as the change in rides showed a 106 percent surge in April over a year ago. The recent rider data also was better than the 12.8 million estimated active riders cited by Seeking Alpha.

The adjusted per share loss was better than expectations, at 35 cents, whereas Wall Street had predicted a loss of 53 cents. Revenue per active rider was up 20 basis points to $45.13 in the quarter as measured from a year ago.

As reported by Yahoo Finance, Lyft Co-Founder and President John Zimmer has said “the recovery is clear, it’s happening.” And in a nod to second quarter trends, he said that demand is improving “rapidly.”

More details will emerge from the conference call. And we’ll see how scooters have fared and whether the driver shortage might be a long-term headwind for ride hailing firms. Demand is great, after all, but supply is a key to meeting demand (and realizing maximum top-line growth). And as has been the case for a while, we’ll look for commentary about the legal implications of the long-running debate over classifying drivers as employees or contractors.

Uber this week said it is partnering with Gopuff, which delivers convenience store goods to people’s homes. Through the new service, Uber Eats users can order household essentials through its app. In addition, a lifeline has been the food delivery business.

In a bit of foreshadowing, as noted in this space, Uber saw its highest-ever monthly bookings in March thanks to a rise in COVID-19 vaccinations.

Uber’s mobility business marked its best month since March of last year, passing a $30 billion annualized gross bookings run rate, while its average daily gross bookings rose 9 percent month over month. The delivery business also saw a record-setting month in March, marking a $52 billion annualized gross bookings run rate, a more than 150 percent increase year over year, per Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings.

Uber is scheduled to announce its Q1 earnings Wednesday (May 5).

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