Uber vs Lyft: The Battle for the US Rages On
Investor Intelligence

Uber vs Lyft: The Battle for the US Rages On

by Clement Thibault , Content Marketing Manager, Similarweb 3 Min.
February 19, 2020 | Updated August 2, 2022

To this day, Uber and Lyft remain two of the most intriguing publicly traded companies. Their cash burn is real: the companies lost a combined $10 billion dollars in 2019 alone. However, the promise of big future returns keeps the companies well funded and locked in an everlasting battle.

Even though both companies are deep in the red, their combined market cap stands at $81.5 billion dollars. Uber is now worth $68.1 billion to Lyft’s $13.5 billion, which means Lyft’s market cap is just about a fifth of Uber’s. It doesn’t look like much of a competition, but looks can be deceiving. Uber runs a global empire, while Lyft is active in a handful of countries. To be able to compare their operations, we’ll focus on their biggest market: The US.

The biggest takeaway from our research is that in the US, Lyft is closing in on Uber.

Let’s see how Lyft is closing the gap by exploring the trends in Similarweb’s data in three crucial metrics: Install Penetration, Daily Active Users (DAUs), and Downloads.

On March 4, 2020, Similarweb and Second Measure are hosting a webinar on the ride-hailing industry. Save your seat here to join us for live exclusive insights!

Uber vs Lyft Install Penetration

Install Penetration gives us the percentage of devices with a given app installed on it. It is a proxy of reach and market penetration and is helpful when trying to determine what market share different participants of a given market hold.

In January 2018, Uber had an install penetration rate of 24.7%, almost four times Lyft’s install penetration which stood at 6.8%. Twelve months later, Lyft had already made up some ground, and Uber’s install penetration was now less than three times as big as Lyft’s. Today, Uber’s install penetration stands at 28.8% to Lyft’s 12.9%, just a bit more than double Lyft’s install penetration. While Lyft isn’t an immediate threat to Uber in terms of market share, the gap is clearly shrinking.

Uber vs Lyft DAUs

The Daily active users metric indicates the number of people using an app on a daily basis. The more users come back every day, the stickier an app is. A strong and committed user base is a key to success in many industries, including ride-hailing.

Two years ago, Uber had twice as many DAUs as Lyft. With 1 million DAUs in the US, Uber dominated the market. However, since then, this dominance is fading fast. Uber’s DAUs barely grew in the past two years, while Lyft’s DAUs increased by 40%, from 514,000 to 720,000. The result is that Lyft now has two-thirds of the DAUs Uber has – quite the catch-up in two years.

Uber vs Lyft Downloads

When it comes to downloads, the numbers indicate the level of interest consumers are displaying in each ride-hailing company. While downloads don’t always translate to active users, they are very helpful in estimating the future user base of a company. After all, you can’t be part of the user base without downloading the app first.

Today, Lyft has an astounding 84% of the downloads Uber has, up from 68% two years ago, and 65% last year. After both companies added a significant amount of downloads during Q2 and early Q3 2019, Uber’s downloads number came crashing down, while Lyft managed to keep its numbers of downloads steady at about 2.5 million downloads a month.

Conclusion

Uber is still the #1 ride-hailing company in the US. However, what was once a foregone conclusion is now hotly contested by Lyft, which threatens to take over from Uber after making big steps towards closing the gap in 2019.

If you are interested in more insights, on March 4, Similarweb and Second Measure will be partnering to deliver an exciting webinar on Uber and Lyft. For the first time, two alternative data providers are joining forces to show you how their data sets can be combined to discover new and unique insights into the ride-hailing industry.

During the webinar, both companies will share their insights on Uber and Lyft, while discussing the process leading to their insights.

Save your seat here!

This post is subject to Similarweb legal notices and disclaimers.

Wondering what Similarweb can do for you?

Here are two ways you can get started with Similarweb today!