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04/12/2021

The Uber Indicator Is Flashing Normal as Bookings Set Record

Demand for food delivery and rides now exceed driver supply
Mike Troy
Editorial Director, Grocery Group
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The Uber Indicator Is Flashing Normal as Bookings Set Record
Uber's delivery business set a new record by crossing a $52 billion annualized gross bookings run-rate in March, growing more than 150% year over year.

Americans want food and packages delivered and have places to go, which is why Uber Technologies, Inc. was able to set a new record for gross monthly bookings.

The company said its total company gross bookings for March 2021 reached the highest monthly level in the company’s nearly 12-year history. The company’s mobility business posted its best month since March 2020, crossing a $30 billion annualized gross bookings run-rate. Meanwhile, the company’s delivery business set a new record by crossing a $52 billion annualized gross bookings run-rate in March, growing more than 150% year over year.

“As vaccination rates increase in the United States, we are observing that consumer demand for mobility is recovering faster than driver availability, and consumer demand for delivery continues to exceed courier availability,” Uber said in a statement. “On April 7, Uber announced that it is increasing investments in driver incentives to improve driver availability in the near-term.”

The company launched a $250 million driver stimulus on April 7, and said, “boosted incentives and guarantees will help welcome existing drivers back to Uber and ensure first-time drivers do well as they learn the ropes.”

Many drivers stopped driving in 2020 because they couldn’t count on getting enough trips to make it worth their time, but in 2021, there are more riders requesting trips than there are drivers available to give them, which makes it a great time to be a driver, according to Uber.

While the $250 million incentive will put pressure on the company’s expenses, “We continue to believe that Uber is on track to reach quarterly Adjusted EBITDA profitability in 2021.” The company is scheduled to report its first quarter results on May 5.

Uber also increased drivers’ ability to earn by introducing new functionality to its app so drivers can toggle back and forth between delivering food, packages and passengers. The volume of deliveries in 2021 of all types is poised to benefit from the December 2020 acquisition of the Postmates delivery platform. Uber also recently acquired alcoholic beverage delivery platform Drizly for $1.1 billion.

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