SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The growth of Uber Technologies Inc. has slowed as a series of scandals have allowed leading US competitor Lyft Inc to gain further market share, eMarketer said in a report on Monday.
The research firm has lowered its forecasts for Uber's growth for the next several years. It projects 48 million US adults who will use Uber at least once this year, an increase of 18 percent over last year, but well above eMarketer's previous forecast of more than 51 million.
EMarketer based its analysis on Uber and Lyft data, such as trip numbers and app downloads, as well as customer surveys by researchers from JP Morgan and other companies.
The report quantifies the impact of a series of scandals on Uber last year that included an internal investigation of sexual harassment and workplace behavior; a US Department of Justice investigation into whether Uber managers violated bribery of foreign officials; a lawsuit filed by Alphabet Inc ( GOOGL.O ) for the theft of trade secrets that Uber had paid out at $ 245 million; and the departure of Uber's Chief Executive Officer, who was ousted by investors worried about the growing list of issues.
Uber did not respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, Lyft has grown rapidly, adding more than 160 cities last year that benefited from Uber's image and later entering markets where people are already familiar with driving, eMarketer said. On Monday, Lyft said it has 35 percent of the national rides market, and in 16 US markets its share exceeds 40 percent.
"Uber's brand image was even bigger than expected as it faced a series of scandals and PR catastrophes in 2017," said Shelleen Shum, Forecasting Director of eMarketer. "Lyft, which had rapidly expanded its coverage, seized the opportunity to profile itself as a more social alternative."
The market research institute has lowered its forecast for the growth of Uber every year until 2021, which reflects the competitiveness of the company drawback after the problems of last year. EMarketer's earlier projections set the number of Uber users at around 44 million in 2017, but the actual number was less than 41 million.
Nevertheless, Uber remains the dominant US company engaged in ride-tailing. At the end of this year, it will have a market share of 77 percent, compared to 90 percent in 2016, while Lyft will reach 48 percent of nearly 29 percent, according to eMarketer.
EMarketers projections for 2022 show that Uber with nearly 74 percent of customers and Lyft with 59 percent of customers hoarding the ride. Some people use both services.
Lyft operates in approximately the same number of US cities as Uber, as well as in Toronto. Uber operates all over the world even though he has withdrawn from Southeast Asia, Russia and China after losing billions of dollars competing with local rivals.
Reporting by Heather Somerville; Edited by Leslie Adler