Thirteen is the magic number for Uber
The miracle has happened: Uber is making money for the first time in 13 years, and the winning recipe is cost-cutting and sales growth.
Uber, born on the streets of San Francisco in 2010, is finally profitable. At the end of June 2023, the American VTC and delivery platform posted the first operating profit in its history, thanks in particular to a sharp drop in overheads.
“Robust demand, new growth drivers and continued cost discipline translated into an excellent quarter,” boasts Uber boss Dara Khosrowshahi. Over the period, the company posted $326 million in operating income, compared with a loss of $713 million last year.
Sales were driven by a spectacular rebound in demand following the health crisis. In the United States, by far its biggest market, the platform is also benefiting from the difficulties of Lyft, its major competitor, which continues to lose market share. Over the quarter, the number of rides climbed by 22%, reaching an all-time high.
What’s more, Uber, which exploded during the confinements, continues to post a double-digit growth rate, while recording a very strong improvement in its margins. Uber is also developing new activities, such as the arrival of advertising on its application.
Over the last ten years, Uber has posted operating losses of over $31 billion. To get back into the black, it had to slash its cost structure, divesting itself of non-strategic assets that were losing a lot of money, such as its robot cab and flying cab projects. After laying off heavily during the health crisis, Uber has been hiring massively again over the past two years.
But the situation remains unstable and fragile, as Uber’s business model continues to be threatened by new regulations, particularly in Europe, on the status of its drivers and delivery personnel, who are currently considered self-employed. Uber fears a sharp rise in costs and a lack of the flexibility it needs to operate.