Uber and Lyft, two of the most valuable startups in the world, are currently battling for the lead in a multibillion dollar market they helped create: ride-hailing. Currently valued at $68 and $7.5 billion, respectively, Uber and Lyft have a similar business model. Both companies provide a platform that helps passengers find drivers and vice versa, and both of them appear to see their future in autonomous driving services. The main difference between the two is that market leader Uber operates in dozens of countries around the world while Lyft’s service is currently limited to the United States.
So why are these companies rated so highly? After all, isn’t ride-hailing something wealthy Millennials do because they’ve seen people on Netflix do it? Not exactly. According to Statista’s Digital Market Outlook, the U.S. market for ride-sharing services will amount to nearly $12 billion this year and is expected to reach $26 billion by 2021. Considering that Uber and Lyft dominate the U.S. market, they’re in pole position to bag the lion’s share of that haul.
As our chart illustrates, there’s only one other country that comes close to matching the U.S. in terms of ride-sharing market volume. Gross bookings in China are expected to amount to roughly $10 billion this year, miles ahead of the U.K. and Japan which are ranked third and fourth. The Chinese market is clearly dominated by local player Didi Chuxing, which acquired Uber’s China business last year in exchange for a sizeable stake in the newly merged company.