What makes the Uber mobile app so successful?

Anne Freier | August 31, 2016

App Business

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What is it that makes Uber such a popular app? Why are users choosing Uber over Lyft? And what keeps investors interested in the company despite Uber announcing a $1.2bn loss in the first half of 2016?

SurveyMonkey has taken a closer look at the statistics and revealed what could be the likely driver for the app’s popularity among consumers and shareholders alike – brand loyalty.

In comparison to Lyft, Uber has been more successful when it comes to app downloads and installs. In July 2016, the company noted 3.8m downloads in the US, compared to 1.3m downloads of rival Lyft. That’s a good sign for investors that something is working right.



Source: surveymonkey.com

However, downloads are only half of the story. For an app to succeed, consumers actually need to use the app. And in Uber’s and Lyft’s case that’s particularly important since usage is how ride-hailing apps generate revenue.

Overall, the company has four times as many monthly active users as Lyft. The research also showed that of those who used either app during July, 8.4% used Uber at least once, compared to 2.3% for Lyft. Both companies have room to grow when it comes to monthly usage.



Source: surveymonkey.com

So why isn’t Lyft’s monthly active usage higher? It turns out that whilst Uber users are incredibly loyal and just 11% of them use other ride-hailing apps, Lyft users aren’t so much. Indeed, 71% of those with Lyft installed are also using Uber. One could argue that Uber has better reach than Lyft, having spent a fortune to roll out its services across the globe, but SurveyMonkey has limited its stats to the US, so…

User overlap


Source: surveymonkey.com

SurveyMonkey found that there were some key drivers for this disparity. Uber is spending significantly more on marketing than Lyft currently has the means to do. This creates awareness and awareness generates interest and eventually downloads. Pricing differences across the apps don’t seem to be an issue as they are largely charging the same rates. As mentioned, geographic area could be a differentiator. From the companies’ websites it’s not quite clear though if Lyft is covering significantly less ground than Uber in the US. Brand perception seems to be the biggest influencer here. Whilst Lyft used to have rules on dressing up cars to fit into a brand profile, Uber treated riders differently, perhaps more liberally.

In terms of demographics, SurveyMonkey found one thing that stood out: income. Uber users tend to have higher incomes than Lyft users, with higher proportions of Uber users earning above $50k compared to Lyft users. It may not come as a surprise then that Uber users tend to be older than Lyft users as age correlates with income.



Source: surveymonkey.com

When it comes to month-on-month growth, Uber keeps having the upper hand at a monthly growth rate of over 6%. Lyft’s growth dropped slightly at a rate of -2%. Despite a saturation of the US ride sharing market, Uber has kept up growth and that’s quite an impressive stunt.

However, more data is needed to complete a full picture on growth rates.

Monthly growth rates


Source: surveymonkey.com

Uber now dominates the ride hailing market in the US at an 89% market share compared to 19% for Lyft.

Market share


Source: surveymonkey.com

It’s too soon to make a prediction if Uber investments are going to pay off in the long run, but if consumer loyalty is anything to go by some solid growth is more than likely.

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