SpendSmart™ Report: Uber Was the Most Expensed T&E Brand in Q3 2018

SpendSmart™ Report: Uber Was the Most Expensed T&E Brand in Q3 2018

The Q3 2018 SpendSmart™ Report released this week offers a portrait of modern American business travel and expense—and a reality where the commanding heavyweights of corporate T&E are being disrupted by consumer-focused digital brands. The top ten most expensed vendors this quarter reflects the consumerization of business travel as adaptive brands continue to reshape the way we do business.

Here are three key takeaways from this quarter’s report:

1. Uber was the most expensed business brand in Q3—by a long-stretch
Uber has seen a phenomenal rise in the report’s list of most expensed brands overall. In Q3 2016, it was the leading brand, with just under six percent of expenses. This year it remains in the number one spot, but has nearly doubled its share of receipts, with approximately 11 percent. Uber first overtook taxis in the ride-hailing category in the second quarter of 2015. By 2016, it had become the leading brand expensed by business travelers across all categories.

The list of most expensed vendors also reveals the growth of another ride-hailing force. This is the first time Lyft has appeared in the top ten most popular brands for business travelers, taking the sixth spot with 3.01 percent of receipts. It will be interesting to see these two brands move into 2019—with Lyft recently announcing its new subscription model, a future of declining car ownership may be closer than you think.

2. Delivery apps are growing fast
As ride-hailing dominates business travel, other companies are starting to prosper in its slip stream. Industry analysts at Cowen & Co. estimated in 2017 that U.S. restaurant delivery sales would rise to $76 billion by 2022, up 77 percent from $43 billion in 2017. That trend is certainly starting to appear in our data, with business travelers turning to delivery apps to help them stay well-fed on the road.

Chicago-based Grubhub leads in the food delivery market, taking 36 percent of receipts in the category this quarter. The company has been pursuing an aggressive growth rate in 2018—adding 100 new markets this year alone. Grubhub also owns Seamless, which lands fifth in the top five food delivery brands, and takes an additional seven percent of the category—the combined brands accounts for nearly half of the market.

But Uber Eats is following closely in second place. It has 26 percent of receipts this quarter and saw a remarkable 300 percent growth rate in the number of business receipts processed through the Certify system from Q3 2017 to Q3 2018. Other contenders in the closely fought space include DoorDash (19.96 percent) and Postmates (11.09 percent).

3. Amazon wields its ever-growing influence in corporate T&E
Amazon has risen to become the third most expensed brand this quarter. Looking at the category historically, the ecommerce giant has seen a steady rise. It was in fifth position of most expensed brands overall in Q2 2016, moved up to fourth place by Q2 2017, and has now slipped into the third spot. Amazon’s dominance in the corporate T&E world reflects the remarkable depth and breadth of its services, from its rapidly expanding business marketplace, to cloud computing, and the delivery of office supplies.

“It’s fascinating to see the changing face of T&E in the most expensed vendors list this quarter,” said Certify CEO Robert Neveu in the report’s press release. “Digital technology is fundamentally changing how businesses operate and it will be interesting to see how the traditional heavyweights of T&E fare in coming years—and whether they’re able to stay ahead of consumer expectations.”

Click here to download the Q3 2018 SpendSmart reports and associated infographics.