Uber Dips for the First Time, Lyft Picks Up Pace in New Certify SpendSmart™ Report for Q3 2017

Uber Dips for the First Time, Lyft Picks Up Pace in New Certify SpendSmart™ Report for Q3 2017
Ride-hailing leader Uber experiences a slight decline in business travel receipts and expenses after two quarters of stalled growth, while Lyft makes record gains in US ground transportation
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Tim Wheatcroft
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PORTLAND, MAINE, October 24, 2017—Leading automated travel and entertainment expense management software provider, Certify, today announced the results of its Certify SpendSmart™ Report and analysis of business travel spending for Q2 2017. After slowing to a near standstill in the first quarter, ride-hailing leader Uber picked up 2% to claim a commanding 55% of ground transportation overall in Q2. Lyft matched Uber's growth, adding 2% to end the quarter with 8% of category receipts and expenses. Ride-hailing's gains came largely at the expense of taxi, dropping to 8% of the category total. Notably, this is the first time SpendSmart™ data shows taxi at a single-digit share of rides. In addition, car rental experienced a two-point decline in business travel transactions, netting 29% of receipts and expenses in the second quarter. 

The Certify SpendSmart™ report tracks business travel expense spending across major categories such as food, airlines, lodging and car rental. The report highlights top vendors and emerging trends by analyzing data from millions of expenses and receipts processed through the Certify system. Data is compiled each quarter and at the close of every year to help CFOs, controllers, accountants and business travelers make more informed expense management choices.

Analysis of business traveler spending across expense categories shows the leading brands and preferred vendors for meals, airlines, hotels and car rentals. Perennial favorites Starbucks, Delta, Hyatt and National round out the most expensed by category. In addition, SpendSmart™ user ratings show the most expense brands are rarely the most loved; with the exception of car rental, only one or two most expensed vendors from each category were also among the top rated.

Taking a closer look at ground transportation, car rental and taxi appear to be bearing the brunt of losses in the business travelers' trend toward ride hailing. After declining to a single-digit share in the second quarter, taxi continued in reverse losing another percentage point to end Q3 with 7% of receipts and expenses. A review of major metro areas in the U.S. patterns after national trends, with Uber losing between 1% and 8% and corresponding gains for Lyft. San Francisco, hometown to both ride-hailing rivals, saw the largest decline for Uber (-8%) and the greatest gain for Lyft (+9%). The number two ride-hailing provider also improved in user review rankings, reaching 4.76 stars to Uber's 4.1 and taxi's 3.59.

Also, new this quarter, Uber now allows passengers to tip drivers through its app. With the absence of tips once considered something of a competitive advantage, SpendSmart™ data shows tipping is off to a slow start with just 3% of Uber rides receiving a gratuity for an average of $3.10. Despite overall trends indicating a slight downturn for Uber, the ride-hailing leader remains the number one vendor in business travel ground transportation and the most expensed brand of any category in the Certify system for the third quarter of 2017; more than double second place Starbucks as a share of transactions.

“The latest Certify SpendSmart™ report shows how the business traveler is more in the driver's seat than ever before when it comes to making purchasing decisions on the road,” said Robert Neveu, CEO, Certify. “Whether it's reaction to the latest headlines or the introduction of new features like tipping, the power of consumer choice has become a major factor in travel and entertainment expense spending that in many ways extends beyond the reach of the accounting department or corporate travel policy.”

Additional analysis of the more than 10 million receipts and expenses logged by Certify in the third quarter of 2017 includes the most expensed and highest rated brands for business travelers such as Starbucks, McDonald's, Subway, Delta, United, Marriott, Hampton Inn, National Car Rental and more. User ratings and average expense amounts are broken out by category below.

The Certify SpendSmart™ Report provides 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, travel and expense management, and reimbursement in one automated, cloud-based system. Previous quarterly reports are available here.

Third Quarter 2017 Highlights:

Most Expensed Restaurants
Starbucks: 4.95% of expenses, averaging $12.20 per receipt
McDonald's: 3.02%, averaging $9.19
Panera Bread: 1.68%, averaging $44.08
Subway: 1.53%, averaging $18.07
Chick-Fil-A: 1.42%, averaging $25.02

Most Expensed Restaurants by Meal
Breakfast: Starbucks 15.86%
Lunch: McDonald's 3.44%
Dinner: McDonald's 1.76%

Top Rated Restaurants (On a scale from 1 to 5, as indicated by travelers)
Chick-Fil-A 4.5
Panera Bread 4.4
Jimmy John's 4.3
Starbucks 4.3
Texas Roadhouse 4.3

Most Expensed Airlines
Delta: 20.98%, averaging $419.47
American: 16.95%, averaging $333.44
Southwest: 15.37%, averaging $277.23
United: 14.12%, averaging $393.10
Alaska Airlines: 1.58%, averaging $282.32

Top Rated Airlines
Southwest 4.5
Alaska Airlines 4.5
JetBlue 4.5
Delta 4.3
American 3.9

Most Expensed Hotels
Hampton Inn: 9.20%, averaging $248.13
Marriott: 8.18%, averaging $257.02
Courtyard by Marriott: 7.66%, averaging $185.39
Holiday Inn Express: 4.93%, averaging $244.39
Hilton Garden Inn: 4.62%, averaging $227.75

Top Rated Hotels
Hyatt 4.4
Embassy Suites 4.3
Hilton Garden Inn 4.3
Homewood Suites 4.3
Marriott 4.3

Most Expensed Car Rental Services
National: 27.22%, averaging $193.05
Enterprise: 15.82%, averaging $208.51
Hertz: 13.45%, averaging $209.79
Avis: 13.01%, averaging $180.53
Budget: 4.27%, averaging $202.83

Top Rated Car Rental Services
National 4.4
Enterprise 4.3
Avis 4.0
Hertz 4.0
Budget 3.6

For complete data and analysis from the SpendSmart™ Q3 2017 Report, go to: www.certify.com/CertifySpendSmartReport.

About Certify
Certify is the leading online spend management solution for companies of all sizes. Organizations worldwide book travel, complete expense reports, and digitize the procure-to-pay process quickly and easily using Certify cloud and mobile applications. For more information about Certify, please call 1-207-773-6100 or visit www.certify.com.
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