Mar 4, 2019

How Lyft's average revenue per user stacks up

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Data: The companies; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Lyft’s average revenue per user (ARPU) in the fourth quarter of 2018 is higher than Facebook’s and GrubHub’s.

Yes, but: Both Facebook and GrubHub are profitable, unlike Lyft, which is far from it right now.

Lyft finally filed to go public on Friday, providing the first official look at its business and financials. These comparisons don't perfectly align, but they provide one way of looking at Lyft in a broader industry context.

Lyft vs. GrubHub: Lyft is currently bringing in more than twice as much revenue on average from a customer, but it’s also losing tons of money as a company.

  • On a per transaction basis, it takes a minor portion of each ride (most goes to the driver) and still spends heavily on promotions like discounts, both to attract new customers and to get existing customers to take more rides.
  • Meanwhile, GrubHub only has to pay drivers to deliver a portion of orders that come through its apps, something it began doing only in 2015. For orders that are delivered by the restaurants themselves or picked up by customers, GrubHub simply collects a fee from the restaurant for connecting it with a customer.
  • GrubHub is also currently the only public "on-demand" company that we could compare to Lyft. Soon enough, Uber will also file to go public and provide a closer comparison.

Lyft vs. Facebook: Yes, these companies have very different business models — one based on providing a transportation service and the other based on selling ads.

  • Still, it’s notable that a U.S. or Canadian user is worth nearly the same amount to Facebook as what Lyft is able to generate from a customer (after paying drivers). Even in the midst of public scandals, Facebook has been known for continuing to squeeze ever growing amounts of advertising revenue from its 2 billion global users.

Methodology: For Facebook and Lyft, Axios used the ARPU numbers for the U.S. and Canada disclosed by the companies in SEC filings. For GrubHub, which operates only in the U.S. and has a very small presence in the U.K., Axios calculated the figures by dividing each quarter’s revenue by the company’s “active diners,” as published in its quarterly financial releases.

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