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Poor Uber. It’s got to be tough starting on top, only to be topped within a few short years. Uber first started sliding last year after co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick was filmed berating a driver. Things got worse from there as Kalanick and Uber tried to clean up the mess, resulting in further scandal.This year, more bad news befell Uber when one of its self-driving vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian without even braking, causing engineers to disclose that their warnings were unheeded by Uber executives. In the fallout from all of these incidents, Uber continues to lose market share in the ride-hailing world, and many Uber users have vowed to switch to Lyft and never come back. Can Uber be saved?
Market research firm eMarketer recently revised its predictions of the ride-hailing market, downgraded the projected market share Uber is expected to enjoy in 2018. Shelleen Shum, eMarketer’s forecasting director, says Uber’s biggest competitor Lyft is reaping the rewards of Uber’s recent missteps:
Lyft benefited tremendously from Uber’s troubles in 2018. Uber’s brand image took an even bigger hit than expected. To make things worse for Uber, Lyft — which had been rapidly expanding its coverage — seized on the opportunity to brand itself as a more socially-conscious alternative.
With 51.4 million expected users this year, Uber is still expected to remain the dominant ride-hailing service by far, although its market share is rapidly shrinking thanks to relative newcomers like Lyft. Lyft is seen as a much friendlier alternative for both drivers and riders, and its new subscription service is so popular it has a massive waitlist.
Sorry, Uber. It’s one thing to be toppled by worthy competitors, though, and quite another to shoot yourself in the foot with controversy after controversy – particularly when those controversies should have been avoidable. Will Uber bounce back?