As you might have heard over and over again, digital brings people together. It does that not only in terms of communication, but also for business and services. Yes, you guessed right : I am talking about the sharing economy. Sharing economy, also known as collaborative or peer economy, is all about the “distributed power and trust within communities as opposed to centralised institutions” (R.Botsmann). Today, this economy includes a large range of services, like the common car services (i.e. Uber, Blablacar etc.), and others like sharing, trading, renting services. This last sequence is called collaborative consumption. In this article I will touch on the major players in this digital shared economy and the evolution of the market.
A very competitive market
There are a lot of mobile applications for car services in the world that are very similar to the leading one Uber, such as Lyft, Sidecar, Gett, Blablacar and many others. They are all built using the same basic features, but we noticed some minor differences when comparing them.
With Lyft, you can reach your final destination in 3 easy steps. First, you need to choose the most suitable option for you (Lyft, Lyft Line or Lyft Plus). Then, obviously, you need to enter your destination. The difference with Uber and some other applications is in the final step: With Lyft, users can pay the driver an optional tip.
Unfortunately, this service is not available all over the world. Only users from the US or Indonesia, Singapore, The Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam can have access to it.
Londoners love this app (that is also available in Russia, Israel and the US) for one simple reason: it is just like black cabs, but even better ! It’s a fixed fare black cab system : so users know the fare before riding in the car and can even split it with their friends. Also, there are 21,000 black cabs in London ; this shortens the wait that is of 3 minutes on average.
Blablacar has a slightly different concept. The french based startup offers carpooling services. The platform matches people going to the same place, at the same time. It is a cheap option for people who are going away for a few days.
Uber vs. Lyft : Online presence
These two big players do not only compete in terms of offers and services, but they are also rivals on social media. Uber and Lyft both discuss about car-services issues, obviously to attract and retain their followers’ attention and engage conversations.
If we compare these two players’ activity on social media, we notice that Uber posts 4 times more than its competitor. But, the good news for Lyft (and its users/followers) is that the number of posts does not matter that much. Yes, it is the quality that counts rather than the quantity. Lyft engages more personal contact with its followers. The brand retweets and answers tweets quite frequently. Uber uses Twitter mainly for announcement (of services or new features), promotions and updates.
The result? Well, it is quite simple. 41.8% of Lyft’s tweets are positive, versus 9.2% of negative tweets. Unfortunately, Uber has less successful results: 25.2% of positive tweets versus 15.6% of negative ones.
And the winner is : Lyft !
Diversification : from cars to pizzas
Most of us have already came across the different Uber services : UberFRESH (lunch delivery), UberEATS (Delivery Service), UberCHOPPER (helicopter rides) among many others.
Well, some competitors reacted quickly. Mid-2015, Gett, the black-cab service that competes with Uber and Lyft started offering on-demand services such as manicures, housecleaning or even pizza deliveries. The aim of this expansion is to satisfy customers quickly, be efficient and meet standards at a reasonable price.
These digital players follow the main trends and they evolve along with those. Yes, it’s risky, but they have to do that. For example, Uber bought 100,000 self-driving S-Class Mercedes cars. However, after the Tesla incident, we are not really sure how this will turn out. Anyways, with digital, people connect with each other and find the services they need, when they need them. I would say it is a win-win situation