Uber claimed it “started firing on all cylinders” with the highest quarter of gross bookings ever, although the food delivery business continues to do the heavy lifting and ride bookings remain flat.
Uber recorded $ 19.5 billion in gross bookings – the total value of all transactions – up 24 percent from the same period last year, when the early effects of the pandemic began to strangle its business.
But the number of trip bookings was slightly lower than in the previous quarter and still 38 percent lower compared to the same period a year ago.
A shortage of available drivers has hampered the industry’s recovery. For the first time, Uber announced on Wednesday that 3.5 million active drivers and couriers worked on the platform, 4 percent more than the previous quarter but 22 percent lower than a year earlier.
Sales for the quarter were $ 2.9 billion, which is lower than analyst estimates. That included a $ 600 million accrual for costs it expects to bear in the future to settle landmark wage claims in the UK in connection with a historic court defeat over worker classification, which will bring additional benefits to drivers in the country. to get.
The increase aside, Uber said total revenues were $ 3.5 billion, 8 percent more than a year earlier, higher than analysts’ estimates. As with most of the pandemic, the delivery division accounted for the bulk of sales, at $ 1.7 billion, up 230 percent from the first quarter of 2020.
A one-time $ 1.6 billion windfall from the sale of its self-driving division put Uber within reach of a profitable quarter, with a net loss of $ 108 million, compared to $ 2.9 billion in the same quarter a year ago.
Uber’s preferred performance measure, adjusted EBITDA earnings before depreciation and amortization, also exceeded analyst expectations, losing $ 359 million, 41 percent higher than a year ago. Wall Street had expected a loss of $ 452 million, according to FactSet.
“Uber is starting to boom as more consumers rejoin us as they continue to take advantage of our growing delivery offering,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, in a statement accompanying the filing.
On Tuesday, the company announced it was partnering with fast delivery company Gopuff to offer convenience items through the Uber Eats app, leveraging Gopuff’s network of warehouses and delivery drivers. Uber takes a secret commission on every sale.
Uber will maintain its target of a profitable quarter, on an adjusted EBITDA basis, by the end of the year. Demand for rides is showing signs of a strong return in regions that have relaxed lockdowns and vaccinated citizens.
As part of the revenue release, Uber shared data from Sydney and New York, two of the largest rides and delivery markets, suggesting that gross food delivery bookings were still high even after reopenings, driving demand for rides increased.
Rideshare workers across the board have shown reluctance to take the job as economies reopen.
Last month, Uber announced a $ 250 million “incentive package” with additional driver incentives touting higher organic wages as high demand drove up rates. On Tuesday, rival Lyft praised higher earnings and a greater degree of social interaction for ride drivers compared to food delivery.
There were 98 million active users of Uber, whether rides or food – a 5 percent increase from the previous quarter, but less than the same period last year.