Uber Revenue Analysis

Artyom Dogtiev | September 5, 2016

App Business

One of the staples of the emerging Sharing economy is Uber Technologies Inc. online transportation network company. Today Uber represents perhaps the best example of an economy sector disrupting company, essentially it is on a mission to replace a taxi as old-school public transportation globally. Over the years it faced a number of protests and was involved in some really intense controversy. By the end of 2015 Uber generated $1.5 billion in net revenue, let’s take a look at some of the components that lead the way to this big revenue figure.

Key Uber Revenue Data Points:

  • Uber 2013-2015 net revenue growth – 21x
  • Uber 2014 total net revenue – $495
  • Uber GAAP losses in 2014 – $671 million
  • Uber 2015 total net revenue – $1,5 billion
  • Uber 2015 total booking revenue – $10.8 billion
  • Uber 2016 total projected booking revenue – $26 billion
  • Uber 2016 trip average price in US – $14
  • Uber 2015 most expensive city – New York ($24 plus / trip)

In August of 2015 Uber internal documents were leaked and it gave general public a rare opportunity to see how the company had been doing financially. First up is its gross revenue (total revenue from the app customers, before drivers got their cut) in the first half of 2015, which was $3.63 billion, 20% up from $2,93 billion in 2014 combined.

Uber gross revenue 2014-2015, in billions

Source: Forbes

But of course net revenue, the amount Uber actually gets after paying its drivers their cut, is what gives an adequate picture of how much money the company makes. In the first half of 2015 Uber net revenue was $663 million, 30% more than it did in all of 2014, which was only $495 million. A total amount that Uber paid to its drivers in Q1 an Q2 of 2015 combined was $2,7 billion, which constituted 75% of its total bookings.

Uber net revenue, in millions

Source: Forbes

2013 was the year when Uber began its expansion into the Asian region, with a launch in Sydney, Australia in winter of 2013 and the following launch in Taiwan and Taipei in summer of 2013.

Let’s take a look at the company global operations net revenue curve from Q1, 2013 till Q4, 2015, which was about $25 million in Q1 of 2013 and more than $500 million in the last quarter of 2015. The biggest spike over this period we can see was at the beginning of 2015 and further on, which partly can be attributed to the Uber launch in China and India in 2014.

Uber net revenue 2013-2015, in millions

Uber Revenue 2013-2015

Source: Muckercapital

Uber has become a way for making a living or simply making an extra buck for  millions of drivers and so it’s interesting to analyze how much drivers make with the platform. One of the best glimpse of Uber drivers and on demand workers earnings data in general, we can get from SherpaShare. According to the data published in summer of 2016 for the US top 20 cities Uber drivers earnings per trip, an average earning was $14 / trip and Lyft drivers earnings were pretty much alined with this figure.

Uber vs. Lyft average earning per trip in 2016

Source: SherpaShare

The other piece of data from SherpaShare for the first 5 months of 2015 reveals the data for six top US cities in terms of Uber usage. New York city Uber drivers beat other 5 cities, as well as the national average, with $24 plus per trip against $12 national and less than $14 for Austin, San Francisco, Chicago, Baltimore and Nashville.

Average cross fare per trip, January – May 2015

uber average revenue per trip across multiple cities

Source: SherpaShare

Let’s compare head to head Uber with its closest competitor in the fight for the taxi market – Lyft. If we look at the weekly revenue trend for both companies from January 2013 – September 2014, we see Uber increases revenue 10-11 times faster than Lyft.

Uber revenue vs. Lyft revenue

Uber revenue vs Lyft revenue

Source: FutureAdvisor

According to the leaked documents, currently Uber remains to be unprofitable company. Back in 2014 GAAP losses (net revenue minus cost of revenue, operating expenses and other costs) totaled $671 million. In the first half of 2015 the losses increased 47% and reached $987.2 million.

Uber GAAP Loss, in millions


Source: Forbes

Despite the fact that as of now Uber is unprofitable company, thanks to heavy venture capital investments, it continues to grow rapidly and by the end of 2016 it’s projected to reach $26 billion revenue, which will be 141% from 2015, according to the documents obtained by Reuters.

Uber global bookings revenue, in billions

Uber Revenue Projection

Source: Reuters

Final Thoughts

By no means the Uber path to profitability on the transportation market is easy. But it’s typical for any company that disrupts an established market segment. As of mid 2016 Uber still isn’t profitable and continues to feed its growth and expansion with venture capital funding rounds. By launching several services expansions, such as UberFresh launch, package delivery service in Santa Monica, California, Uber Rush courier package delivery service, Uber tries to improve its positioning on the market and stay ahead of its competition. The latest initiative, the autonomous car fleet experiment in Pittsburg launch to eventually replace all human drivers with autonomous cars in the future is yet another step to increase Uber’s net revenue, because it’ll eliminate the need to pay its human drivers fleet.

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