Certify Report: Lyft Use by Business Travelers Nearly Doubles Year-Over-Year

Certify Report: Lyft Use by Business Travelers Nearly Doubles Year-Over-Year
A new report shows that Lyft took 19% of the business travel ride-hailing market nationally in Q1 2018 compared to 10% in Q1 2017; Uber remains the dominant player, but use of its service declined year-over-year for the fourth year in a row.
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PORTLAND, MAINE, April 30, 2018—Certify, a leading automated travel and entertainment expense management software provider, has released its Q1 2018 SpendSmart™ report, which shows the most popular airlines, hotels, restaurants and ground transportation services among business travelers in the U.S. The report, which Certify has published for the past four and a half years, analyzed over 10 million receipts and expenses in Q1.

The new Certify report is highlighted by the rise of Lyft, which continues to gain ground on Uber within the business traveler community. According to the report, Lyft took 19% of all ride-hailing receipts and expenses in Q1 compared to 10% in the first quarter of 2017. Lyft use has been growing steadily since 2014, when the service accounted for just 1% of the business traveler ride-hailing market. Lyft's growth has come at the expense of Uber – though Uber still owns a commanding share of the market nationally. Uber's 81% market share in Q1 2018 is down from 90% in Q1 2017 and 95% in Q1 2016.

Combined, Uber and Lyft are dominating traditional business traveler ground transportation services. In Q1 2018, ride-hailing companies took 70.5% of all ground transportation receipts and expenses, while rental cars took 23.5% and taxis took 6%. That's a big jump from one year ago, when ride-hailing accounted for 59% of the market, rental cars had 31% and taxis had 10%. The change is more staggering compared to data from the middle of the decade: In Q1'14, ride-hailing was a mere 8% of the business traveler ground transportation market, while rental cars were 55% and taxis were 37%.

Major metro areas continued to dominate the U.S. ride-hailing market. Not surprisingly, San Francisco was the most popular U.S. ride-hailing city for business travelers, taking 99% of the market compared to 1% for taxis (rental cars were not included in this part of the analysis) in Q1 2018. That's a slight improvement from Q1 2017 when ride-hailing took 96% of the San Francisco market. Dallas was the second most popular market nationally, with 91% of business traveler ground transportation receipts and expenses going to ride-hailing services. Los Angeles and Boston tied for third, with 89% of transactions. Chicago and New York continue to have the highest rate of taxi use compared to ride-hailing, but even in those markets, ride-hailing accounted for nearly 75% of all business traveler ground transportation receipts and expenses in Q1 2018.

Despite recent reports from Lyft and Uber showing that tipping on these services is growing, Certify's report indicates that a relatively small percentage of business travelers who use ride-hailing services are participating. In Q1 2018, only 6% of business travelers using Uber tipped their drivers, while 2% of Lyft users tipped. On average, business travelers are tipping about $.15 less per ride with Lyft than Uber, according to Certify's data, and spending nearly $5 less on Lyft trips versus Uber trips.

“Lyft's jump is the biggest surprise of Q1,” says Robert Neveu, President and CEO of Certify. “As Uber experienced change in its senior leadership team and challenges in various markets, Lyft stayed the course and gained market. It will be very interesting to see if Lyft is able to maintain this level of usage in the business travel space.”

Certify's report also covered the most popular airlines, hotels and restaurants among business travelers in Q1. Here are the top three in each category:

The most popular airlines:
  • Delta
  • American Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines

The most popular hotels:
  • Hampton Inn
  • Marriott
  • Courtyard By Marriott

  • The most popular restaurants:
    • Starbucks
    • McDonald's
    • Panera Bread


    The Certify SpendSmart Report provides detailed analysis of vendors, expense amounts and satisfaction rating data from corporate expense reports collected directly from its customer base. Certify SpendSmart reports on millions of receipts and expense transactions every quarter, delivering valuable insights to Certify clients and the business travel and expense industry at large. Certify is a premier provider of integrated travel booking and automated expense management solutions. The current and previous quarterly and full-year SpendSmart reports are available here.

    Disclosure: Lyft and Uber are both business partners to Certify.

    About Certify
    Certify is the leading online travel and expense management solution for companies of all sizes. Organizations worldwide book travel and complete expense reports quickly, easily, and cost-effectively using Certify cloud and mobile applications. For more information about Certify, please call 207.773.6100 or visit http://www.certify.com.