Let us all admit it! We have always been thrilled by rivalries between two fitting competitors. We have seen it happen between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. We have seen it happen between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The world of technology and business cannot be an exception to this pattern. When it comes to mobile devices and operating systems, it is Google versus Apple. When it comes to enterprise computing, Apple has always been at loggerheads with Microsoft.
However, all these technological rivals belong to the old school if we take into consideration the revolution called on demand transportation. When it comes to on-demand transport, especially in the United States, the competition has always been between Uber and Lyft.
Any regular person in the United States who has been used to availing on-demand taxi services surely have heard these names being mentioned parallel to each other. This is quite possible that they might even have both the mobile apps installed on their phone. However, they are different as much as they are similar. Both of them have their own share of pros and cons. There are also differences when it comes to their approach and business model.
In this write up, let us look at the key differences between Uber and Lyft. Even though they provide the same kind of services they differ in various aspects. The crust of it might seem to be identical. The core of it is not.
Where it all starts…
Uber, as an idea, originated in France in 2008. However, it started as a company in San Francisco a year later. Lyft was a bit late to the party and it started only in 2012. However, the delay has not deterred Lyft from gaining a considerable share in the US market.
The business model
The differences between Uber and Lyft is quite a good example that can be given for how businesses that offer almost the same services can have a drastically different set of business models.
Uber has always been towards the concept of professional driving services. Most of their audience are business-centric. Uber has also been looking to expand its offerings into multiple segments not just within transportation of people but even in tracking and delivery of food.
Lyft, on the other hand, focuses on creating a friendly relationship between the driver and the customer. It is quite likely that the intensity of engagement is far ahead in Lyft compared to an Uber. In addition to that, Lyft has not scattered its focus anywhere beyond cab services. Explicitly, their management has stated that the aim of Lyft is to be the best when it comes to transportation services.
In terms of revenue
Even when it comes to revenue, there is quite a massive difference. Uber has been dominating the market and it is only expected that Uber has a higher revenue. However, when it comes to the take rate Lyft performs far ahead of Uber. While the take rate of Uber has been struggling to cross the 20% mark, Lyft has been contemplating on breaching the 30% mark.
Both these businesses have dedicated apps for Android, iOS and even Windows. There are a lot of similarities between these apps as they offer the same service. Apart from functionality, both these apps offer an amazing user experience. Uber is rich in features and some of these features make it a better option than Lyft. For example, in Uber, the fair estimates and the ETA details are provided even before the ride starts making it extremely transparent. When it comes to Lyft, these details are not provided. Since Lyft is light on features, it becomes extremely easy for making the user interface intuitive and easy to navigate, making it a clear winner in these aspects.
The magnitude of engagement
When we talk about magnitude, it is best that we measure it statistically! Based on US Android data provided by reliable sources, Uber has an open rate less than Lyft. Lyft has an open rate of 4.5% but Uber stagnated at 2.3%. The best or the worst part (depending on whether or not you are on the side of Uber) is that the numbers are expected to tilt Lyft. What makes Lyft win this game is its intense referral program. The referral program not only targets customers but also drivers. In fact, Lyft offers better referral incentives and sign up rewards, making it a lucrative option for drivers to refer and get referred. This has been one of the greatest contributing factors when it comes to the quality of services and the magnitude of engagement.
The vehicle options
Both Uber and Lyft give quite a wide range of vehicle options to choose from. Uber offers six different options whereas Lyft offers four. What makes Uber special in this regard is that they also have vehicles that offer a wheelchair accessibility, making it quite accommodative for the differently abled. Lyft counts only on the utility but not on the fancy names.
The vehicle options of Uber might seem great on the surface but what Lyft has managed to master is in the art of decluttering. People, more often than not, do not want to experience different levels of luxury but Uber has created a few needless layers of luxury that could have been done away with.
Funding and market cap
By the time we started to talk about this, we are sure you would have guessed that there is no need for a comparison here. With the valuation of Uber crossing $60 billion and the valuation of Lyft struggling to beat $15 billion, Uber is quite the clear winner. However, when it comes to the funding and the revenue, Lyft has kept it a bit low profile. Uber has raised more than $24 billion in 22 rounds of funding whereas Lyft has raised about $5 billion in 19 rounds. What is to be noted here is that the growth rate of Lyft is far ahead of Uber. Lyft has managed to double its market cap within a year while steadily gaining on the market share.
We have now come to discuss the final aspect of our differences which is in terms of the market share. It is quite evident that Uber dominates the market in the United States. It goes without saying that, with the existing marketing effort and global recognition, Uber dominates the market. However, in the past few years, Lyft has been steadily catching up while Uber has been losing out. In 2017, Uber had a 74% market share but it had dropped to 69% the very next year. At the same time when Lyft started with a market share of 22% but started to grow steadily, reaching a whopping 29%.