Uber Revenue More Than Doubles as People Ride More and Keep Ordering In

Uber Revenue More Than Doubles as People Ride More and Keep Ordering In


Uber Technologies Inc.’s


UBER -3.03%

revenue more than doubled last quarter, as demand for rides rebounded after fresh Covid-19 concerns last year and food delivery grew despite restaurant reopenings.

For the three months through March, the company said revenue grew more than twofold from a year earlier to $6.85 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet expected revenue of $6.09 billion.

Revenue was also helped by high ride prices, triggered by a yearlong driver shortage.

Uber said growth is expected to continue this quarter. It said that the value of rides booked in April exceeded 2019 levels and that it expects the total value of bookings in the current quarter to be between $28.5 billion and $29.5 billion. Wall Street expects $28.39 billion in bookings value for the quarter that ends in June.

Uber forecast adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of between $240 million and $270 million for the current quarter, compared with Wall Street’s average estimate of $246 million.

Rival

Lyft Inc.

spooked investors with a weaker-than-expected adjusted earnings forecast Tuesday, sending its shares tumbling more than 25% in after-hours trading. Both companies posted their first quarterly profit by this adjusted measure last year and have said this signals the strength of their underlying operations. This metric strips out expenses such as asset write-downs that many consider to be outside a company’s core operations.

Lyft said Tuesday it would spend more to motivate drivers to return to its platform and those costs would weigh on its bottom line in the current quarter.

Uber said Wednesday that its driver base was at a postpandemic high and it didn’t need to spend heavily to boost supply. Many ride-share drivers switched to delivering food during the pandemic and because Uber has a big delivery business, it has been in a better position to entice drivers to switch to ferrying customers again.

Uber had previously scheduled its results announcement to come after the market closed Wednesday but moved it to before the market opened amid concern that its shares could get caught up in a broader selloff triggered by Lyft’s release.

In premarket trading Wednesday, Uber shares were down 0.6%, while Lyft shares dropped 25%.

Both companies’ shares have underperformed this year on worries that rising gasoline prices, labor shortages and new Covid-19 variants could weigh on their growth. Uber and Lyft shares were down about 30% this year through Tuesday’s close, compared with a 20% decline in the Nasdaq Composite Index.

Uber Eats became bigger than Uber’s core rides business during the pandemic.



Photo:

Akio Kon/Bloomberg News

Neither company has posted a net profit on the strength of its operations, though Uber has posted rare net profits on the back of its investments in other companies.

Uber’s first-quarter net loss widened to $5.93 billion from $108 million a year earlier. The loss came from its stakes in Chinese ride-hailing giant

Didi Global Inc.,

Southeast Asia’s

Grab Holdings Inc.

and

Aurora Innovation Inc.

The loss was wider than the $494 million that analysts expected. Uber’s adjusted earnings of $168 million for last quarter came in higher than Wall Street’s projection.

Your average Uber or Lyft ride cost 50% more this summer than before the pandemic. But prices were inching up even before lockdowns began. Here’s what drove ride-share prices through the roof, and how the companies are working to bring them back down. Composite photo: David Fang/WSJ

Riders are returning to Uber and Lyft faster than drivers. The labor shortage pushed prices for rides to record highs last year. Ride prices started to inch down from those highs last summer but started to climb again this year, according to market research firm YipitData. The companies imposed small fuel surcharges on riders to offset the pain from higher gasoline prices, which affected average prices, YipitData said.

Uber reported record food-delivery bookings in the first quarter, showing the business’s resilience even as restaurants reopened. Uber Eats became bigger than Uber’s core rides business during the pandemic and the unit’s bookings have continued to outstrip rides. While delivery bookings grew 12% from a year earlier to $13.9 billion during the quarter, the rate of growth has fallen sharply from nearly tripling a year ago.

The ride-share and food-delivery company reached a regulatory milestone in the state of Washington. In March, the state passed a law preserving the company’s independent contractor labor model. Uber, Lyft and other companies that rely on so-called gig workers have battled regulators across the country about whether their drivers should be classified as employees or independent contractors.

The companies spent more than $200 million on a 2020 ballot measure to overturn a California law that forced them to classify drivers as employees. After the California win, Uber and others said they would lobby lawmakers in other states to preserve their gig-worker model.

Write to Preetika Rana at [email protected]

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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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