Feb 11, 2021 - Economy

Ride-hailing companies are hopeful for vaccine-led business boost

Uber route map with hazard signs placed on a twisty route

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

As Uber and Lyft look into 2021, both companies pointed to driver supply as a possible challenge when ride-hailing demand picks up again.

Why it matters: The companies delivered their 2020 Q4 earnings this week, with mixed results, and are hoping vaccination will boost their recovery later in the year as more people start to take rides again.

"If I worry about one thing going into the second half of the year it's if we’re going to have enough drivers to meet the demand in the mobility segment," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told analysts on Wednesday.

  • Lyft co-founder and CEO Logan Green described his company as a "tightly coiled spring" ready for business to pick up.

By the numbers:

  • Lyft: $569.9 million in revenue vs. $561.2 million expected, and a $0.58 loss per share compared to $0.72 expected. Its net loss was $458.2 million for the quarter, compared to $356.0 million a year ago.
  • Uber: $3.17 billion in revenue versus $3.58 billion expected (and $3.25 billion expected in net sales, a metric Uber says more closely aligns to its new revenue accounting), and a $0.54 loss per share compared to $0.56 expected. Its net loss for the quarter also shrunk to $968 million from $1.1 billion a year ago.

Both companies also touted their respective delivery businesses.

  • Uber's food delivery business continued to be much larger than its ride-hailing business amid the pandemic, netting $10.1 billion in gross bookings for the quarter, compared to $6.8 billion in gross bookings for its mobility division. The company also recently closed its acquisition of Postmates and announced the acquisition of Drizly, a delivery service focused on alcohol.
  • Lyft, meanwhile, told analysts that it's continuing to invest in its burgeoning business-to-business delivery service, but that remains mostly experimental.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information about analyst expectations for Uber's revenue.

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