Having successfully adapted to the unique circumstances created by the pandemic, Uber beat revenue expectations in the fourth quarter of 2021, capping a year that saw its core rides business partly rebound while keeping momentum in its thriving food delivery business going.
Uber’s gross bookings, i.e. the total dollar value of rides, meal deliveries, and amounts paid by freight shippers, climbed to $90.4 billion in 2021, beating 2019 levels by almost 40 percent. Virtually all of that growth can be attributed to the company’s food delivery business, which saw bookings soar from $14.5 billion in 2019 to $51.6 billion in 2021 as many people still opted for food delivery over restaurant visits in face of the pandemic threat. Meanwhile, bookings in Uber’s core mobility segment improved 38 percent compared to 2020, while remaining 26 percent below pre-pandemic levels.
The results once again highlighted the shift that Uber's business has been undergoing during a time of restricted mobility. "We are fortunate to have both a global footprint and such a natural hedge across our two core segments: as some people stay closer to home, more people are ordering from Uber Eats than ever before,” Khosrowshahi had said about his company's forced pivot last year.