The Sharing Economy is Changing Corporate America

The Sharing Economy is Changing Corporate America

The release of the Certify SpendSmart™ Report for the first quarter of 2019 reveals businesses continuing to adapt to consumer trends. Exciting new sectors are showing up in expense reports, such as the rise of last-mile mobility services like electric scooters.

Additionally, the ride hailing battle that has unfolded over the past five years is showing signs of stabilizing. Two major US cities emerge as strongholds for taxi use, even with an abundance of new travel options available.

Scooters are showing up in expense reports
Electric scooter companies have been making headlines as they make inroads into the modern world, with Bird and Lime gaining most of the credit—or blame.

Bird was the most expensed scooter company for the quarter with 46% of receipts in the category while competitor Lime followed close behind with 42% of receipts. Razor finished third with eight percent of scooter transactions, and Scoot took fourth place with four percent.

Bird was the least expensive service with an average cost of $5.01 compared to Lime at $5.86, Razor at $5.95, and Scoot at $6.23. Bird and Lime were the top-rated scooters, with both securing a 4.5 out of 5 star rating.

A niche of business travelers are starting to use this form of last mile mobility—and they’re leaving overwhelmingly positive reviews as they submit expenses. One review from a user in Austin, Texas, left the comment: “Good scoots, no speed restrictions which is nice down hills.”

The emerging trend comes at the perfect time. Cities around the country are looking for new ways of bridging the first- and last-mile gap in public transport. Consumers and business travelers alike are responding favorably, despite growing pains the industry faces. Will this new industry change the future of work—or is this a passing fad? We’ll be watching expense reports to find out.

The sharing economy stabilizes
After years of double-digit growth of the category, ride hailing giants Lyft and Uber are now starting to slow down according to our data. When we first started tracking this trend in Q1 2015, taxis and ride hailing apps shared the category with almost an equal split.

This quarter, Uber and Lyft control the ride hailing market with a combined 94% of receipts—increasing 44% over four years. And Uber once again topped our report as the most expensed brand overall for the quarter, with 12% of total expense receipts. Lyft was the highest rated ride hailing company with 4.9 stars, compared to Uber at 4.6 stars, and taxis at 4.0 stars.

Taxis leveled out this quarter with just six percent of receipts for the ride hailing category. Taxis were once again the most expensive option, with an average cost of $33.53—a slight decrease in cost by $0.17. As Lyft and Uber unveil their plans to go public, it will be interesting to see how ride hailing companies adapt to consumer demands.

Taxis holding their ground in two metro areas
Despite the dominance of Uber and Lyft, taxis have been holding steadfast in two metro areas.

The city of Chicago—where Yellow Cab Company was founded in 1907 by John D. Hertz of Hertz Rent-a-Car—saw taxis claim 14% of receipts for the category. This is almost a 50% decrease from Q1 2018, yet the city’s taxis are still holding on.

New York City is another stronghold for taxis. While the city also experienced double-digit disruption, taxi use here has increased five percent this past year, collecting 32% of receipts for the ride hailing category.

The cities in North America that used taxis the least this quarter were San Francisco (0.68%), Dallas (2.0%), Los Angeles (2.1%), and Miami (5.0%). Compared to Q1 2018, all of these regions have significantly increased their usage of ride hailing services.

Meal delivery is catering to companies
We’ve been charting the rise of meal delivery companies over the past two years. Grubhub is the most expensed vendor in the category in Q1 2019, holding 29% of receipts.

Uber Eats continues to chip away at Grubhub’s leading status. This year, Uber Eats collected 21% of receipts for the category— a three percent decrease from Q1 of 2018. They tied with DoorDash for second most-expensed meal delivery service. While more business travelers and companies are looking for convenient food options, there is a clear appeal in having fresh meals delivered.

Caviar made waves in our report this year. The premium meal delivery company scored the highest rating according to users with a perfect five-star rating, followed closely by Uber Eats at 4.6 and Seamless at 4.5 stars. Caviar was the most expensive meal delivery service with an average cost of $113.61 compared to Grubhub’s average cost of $61.57.

Major players stick around
Our Primary SpendSmart Report meanwhile analyzes the most expensed vendors, as well as the leaders in airlines, lodging, and restaurants. The most expensed vendors echo Q4 2018, with Uber taking 12% of all receipts, followed by Starbucks at 3.94% and Amazon with 3.78% of receipts.

Starbucks remained the most expensed restaurant in Q1 2019. The American coffeehouse held 5.38% of receipts in the meals category and an average cost of $13.88. It also saw a slight decrease in average cost and percent of receipts compared with Q1 2017—dropping $0.98 and 0.51% respectively.

American Airlines and Delta were the fourth and fifth most expensed brands, tying with 3.5% of all receipts. The average expense cost for both airlines has risen compared with Q1 2017. Delta saw the largest increase at $26.15, while American Airlines saw a modest increase in average cost of $16.08.

Marriott was the most expensed hotel this quarter at 9.08% of receipts for the category, taking first place away from Hampton Inn. Marriott had an average cost of $300.58—a noticeable increase of $31.03. Embassy Suites, Hyatt, and Westin Hotels all tied for the top-rated hotels this quarter with 4.5 stars, while Marriott maintained their 4.4 star rating from Q1 2018.

It’s easy to see that these major consumer brands are sticking around the business world. They cater to their needs. They focus on convenience. And most importantly, they deliver what they promise. Will other companies evolve to meet their growing demands of business and consumer? Only time—and the expense reports—will tell.

How does travel and expense at your company compare with our benchmarks? Find out if your spending matches industry averages by downloading our Q1 2019 SpendSmart™ report here.