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UberEats Is Destroying Your Favorite Delivery Service

Uber’s food vertical is soaring, thanks to a global network and brand recognition


In the battle for domination over the fast-growing mobile food ordering and delivery market, new data shows UberEats — one of the youngest brands competing with large-scale delivery services like GrubHub and Yelp’s Eat24 — is using its well-established network to come out on top in downloads and monthly active users, according to apps analytics company Apptopia. This is despite Uber’s recent publicity woes and recently banning restaurants from its “express” delivery service, UberRush, last month.

When UberEats entered the food-delivery scene in late 2015, many wondered how it would fare, especially against online ordering grandaddy GrubHub, a brand that has been around since 2004 and merged with Seamless to create a delivery conglomerate in 2013. UberEats was once called UberFresh, and incorporated into the Uber ride-share app, until it became its own app in 2015.

The success is most likely due to Uber having a competitive advantage in number of drivers and expansion, said Adam Blacker, a spokesperson at Apptopia.

“What Uber has going for them, is while it joined the party late, it already has a massive global network,” Blacker said. Uber has 1.5 million drivers around the world, 600,000 of which are in the U.S. Many UberEats deliverers are simply standard Uber ride-share drivers who also deliver people to their destinations. Another advantage is that, because of the ride-share service, Uber is a better-known courier brand than some of the smaller apps that have started in a few American cities, Blacker added. If other companies want to compete, they’d have to make strategic partnerships and enter into some of the spaces Uber doesn’t already dominate, but that will have a cost.

This is good news for Uber, which has faced a series of publicity blows, from reports of unprofessional company culture to viral videos of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick arguing down a driver about fares. It appears that despite that, hungry app users prefer the UberEats fraction of the company over apps that have been in the market for years.

But this may not be a good thing for deliverers. Bike messengers have criticized Uber and its delivery services for being one of the lowest-paying apps they can use and for undercutting traditional bike messaging services. They’ve accused the company of taking over the messenger business while reducing the average pay, compared to other delivery apps that give riders bonuses for tough conditions or allow restaurants to use their own riders. And with Uber drivers taking on delivery orders, this could mean fewer gigs for bike messengers.

But it’s not all bad news for the other apps. GrubHub, DoorDash, Caviar and Yelp Eat24 each saw growth in downloads and monthly active users, year-over-year, the data showed.

What will help UberEats continue to top the apps charts is its global push. Unlike the other three apps Apptopia analyzed, UberEats is the only app on the list to have an active and growing international presence, available in more than 20 countries. And Apptopia data suggests Uber may be testing UberEats in other countries including Kenya, Finland and Denmark. This puts pressure on the other apps, who remain largely domestic, with GrubHub in London and several others serving cities in Canada. But even with data from the other app’s international markets in London and Canada included, UberEats still has the most interest from diners.