By enabling convenient and on-demand transport and delivery, Uber helps save time, expand mobility options, create new business for restaurants and the hospitality industry, and provide flexible earning opportunities for hundreds of thousands of driver- and delivery-partners across the Asia-Pacific.
In this report, Uber commissioned independent consultancy Public First to research its impact across Australia, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Japan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Taiwan. Using data from newly commissioned surveys of over 8,000 consumers and 7,000 driver and delivery-partners across the eight markets Uber or Uber Eats operates in , we sought to better understand the impact Uber was having for families, communities, drivers and restaurants.
In 2021, Uber unlocked an estimated US$25 billion in economic value for the economies of the Asia-Pacific markets it serves. This includes the impact of earnings of driver-, delivery- and restaurant-partners facilitated by Uber, and the wider indirect and induced multiplier effect created throughout the company's wider supply chain.
According to Asia-Pacific riders, Uber has brought the most significant transport innovation they have experienced in the last decade, and more impactful to them than any new transportation infrastructure project.
In total, in 2021 we estimate that this increased flexibility is worth an estimated $950 million to drivers and delivery people.
The on-demand economy has helped make everyday life easier for people in the Asia-Pacific region - saving time, increasing choice and improving mobility. For consumers, the primary reason for using Uber is convenience.
91% of riders say that convenience is an important reason they use Uber. In a normal year, we estimate that Uber saves riders in the Asia-Pacific over 245 million hours a year.
58% of Uber Eats users agree that food delivery apps helped improve quality of life during the last year while eating out was restricted due to COVID.
In 2021, we estimate that Uber and Uber Eats combined produced US$31 billion in consumer surplus for people across the Asia-Pacific.
Driver- and Delivery-Partners
Driver- and delivery-partners overwhelmingly choose to use the Uber app because of the flexibility it provides, and the ability to control their own hours. The vast majority report that Uber has helped them earn additional income and they are highly satisfied with their experience, and 61% of driver- and delivery-partners said they were satisfied with their experience using the Uber app. In total, in 2021, we estimate that driver and delivery partners earn an additional $900 million a year in higher income through Uber, or an average of 23% more than their next best alternative source of income or work.
67% of driver- and delivery-partners say that schedule flexibility is important to them when looking for work, and on average flexibility was a more important factor than earnings in why driver- and delivery-partners choose to work with Uber. In total, in 2021 we estimate that this increased flexibility is worth an estimated $950 million to drivers and delivery people.
Restaurant- and Merchant-Partners
Food delivery platforms like Uber Eats have made it easier to access a wide range of good quality food, or access groceries when you can’t leave the house. During the last two years, Uber Eats has helped provide a vital revenue channel to restaurant-partners.
80% of Uber Eats users agree that food delivery apps have made it easier to discover new restaurants, and 58% agree that they helped improve quality of life when they weren’t allowed to eat out.
In total, we estimate that in 2021 Uber Eats helped drive $1.6 billion in additional revenue to restaurant- and merchant-partners in the Asia-Pacific.
Uber helps provide a safer way to get home late at night, and complements public transport by providing a convenient way to get to and from stations.
92% of female riders say that safety is an important factor in their choice to use Uber, and 71% of female riders agree that it is now easier to get home late at night.
62% of riders without access to a car said the availability of ridesharing services like Uber was important to their choice of not owning a vehicle.
In total, we estimate that 1 in 5 Uber trips connect with public transport.
How we use Uber
Over the last decade, Uber has increasingly become a part of everyday life. From getting home from a restaurant to travelling between meetings, helping carry heavy items to being there in an emergency, convenient, safe ridesharing services have become something many people across the Asia-Pacific rely on.
Outside the pandemic period in a more normal year, Uber is being widely used to help us get to and from friends and family, eating out and entertainment.
But Uber is not just being used for leisure. We also found that people are taking an Uber to help with work, everyday chores and childcare.
And Uber is an important service for when you need to get somewhere fast or on time. On average, riders say Uber saves around 18 minutes per trip compared to the next best alternative. Building off this, we estimate Uber saves riders over 245 million hours in a normal year.
Why do riders choose Uber?
We asked riders about the most important reasons they used Uber. Convenience came top (91%), while safety (89%), time saved (89%) and reliability (89%) were not far behind.
Which factors tend to be important or unimportant in why you choose to use Uber?
Even more striking, however, was when we asked riders and consumers to write in their own words why they use Uber. One word came back far more frequently than others: Convenient.
“Because it's convenient! I usually don’t carry cash with me, and Uber makes payment and ordering convenient.” Female customer, 25, from Auckland, New Zealand
“I work shifts sometimes, and I have to go out at around 5:00 AM. At these times, other transportation options aren't available, so I use Uber.” Female customer, 24, from Hong Kong
“It makes my busy life as a mum so much easier; one less effort in my life.” Female customer, 28, from Queensland, Australia
“When I might be having a bad day mentally, or I'm rushing around because I'm running really late, Uber is great to rely on to magically make it to my appointment online!” Female customer, 27, from Victoria, Australia
“I think Uber is really helpful for students like me. They sometimes give me discounts and I go to my university for a much cheaper price. When I am in a hurry I'll often book an Uber to get to where I need to go. It helps me save my important time!” Male customer, 20, from the Chittagong Division, Bangladesh
“Uber is my first choice of transportation because it makes my commute very convenient and takes care of hassles like driving and parking.” Male customer, 28, from Western India
“If you're not in a place where public transport isn't available, if the nearest public transport station or bus stop is far away, or if you don't have much time to meet up.” Male customer, 65, from Kansai, Japan
“It's convenient to book a vehicle while getting ready to go somewhere and I can get picked up on my doorstep. It's also convenient as I do not have to show directions to the driver due to the location services provided.” Female customer, 23, from the Western Province, Sri Lanka
“Convenient, and don't have to come into contact with too many people during the pandemic.” Female customer, 28, from the Southern Region, Taiwan
With restaurants’ dining rooms often shut over the last couple of years, consumers across the Asia-Pacific have turned to delivery platforms such as Uber Eats to get food and other essential goods. Two-thirds of (65%) food delivery app users say that on average they order using a food delivery app at least once a month. 58% agree that food delivery apps have helped improve their quality of life while eating out isn’t allowed.
When we asked what were the most important reasons Uber Eats users used food delivery apps, they pointed to convenience (68%),quick delivery times (48%), being tired of cooking or doing the dishes (33%).
Which of the following, if any, are important reasons why you order using food delivery apps? Please select all that apply.
How much value does Uber create for consumers?
How much is the increased convenience, safety and reliability enabled by Uber worth to riders and consumers?
One of the most important measures of economic welfare is the consumer surplus - the amount you would have to pay someone for them to voluntarily give a good or service up. If a good has a zero consumer surplus, that implies we can take or leave it - whereas goods with a high consumer surplus are playing an important role in our lives.
As part of their poll, we asked riders and consumers how much they would have to be compensated to lose access to the Uber app for the next month.
In total, in 2021 we estimate that rides with Uber are producing US$26 billion in consumer surplus for riders across the Asia-Pacific. while Uber Eats is producing another US$5 billion in consumer surplus. Together, that’s the equivalent of 0.3% of regional GDP.
Driver- and Delivery-Partners
Driver- and delivery-partners are highly satisfied with the experience of using Uber
In our survey:
We estimate that in 2021, driver and delivery-partners earned an additional 900 million a year in higher income through Uber, or an average of 23% more than their next best alternative.
If they weren’t driving with Uber, most respondents say they would look for a similar driving or delivery role. Just 20% say that they would look for a traditional full-time job as a replacement, while:
The Importance of Access to Flexible Work
When we asked driver and delivery-partners what they most liked about using Uber to drive, flexibility was by far the leading response.
In your own words, what do you like most about driving or delivering for Uber?
The ability to choose your own hours is important to driver- and delivery-partners. Many driver- and delivery-partners balance their time on the Uber app with jobs, platform work, education or caring responsibilities. In our driver survey, 67% of driver- and delivery-partners say that schedule flexibility is important to them when looking for work, and on average flexibility was a more important factor than earnings in why driver- and delivery-partners choose to work with Uber. Only a minority said that using Uber was their only source of income.
In order to test this we asked driver- and delivery-partners a hypothetical question: Would you prefer to receive higher earnings, but have to work fixed hours. Most driver and delivery-partners said they would rather retain the right to choose their own hours, even if the alternative was a 20% increase in earnings. In total, in 2021 we estimate that this increased flexibility is worth $950 million to driver- and delivery-partners.
Flexibility matters for many reasons. 54% of driver- and delivery-partners say that they earn income from other sources, as well as via the Uber app. 27% also have a traditional full-time job too. Only a small minority of driver- and delivery-partners use the platform more than 40 hours a week.
Flexibility can be particularly important for people who are caring for children, elderly relatives or others who need support:
- 78% of those with children aged 18 or under or with caring responsibilities said the flexibility provided by app-based work made it easier to balance family and work responsibilities.
- 79% of those with children aged 18 or under or caring responsibilities said working via the Uber platform provides them with significantly more flexibility than their past jobs.
“I like to drive, go to places that I've not visited before and interact with guests! I enjoy being able to earn income from Uber!” Male driver-partner, 37, from Hong Kong
“Flexibility to choose my own hours when my son is at school. There's not many options out there and it has helped me financially.” Female driver-partner, 35, from Queensland, Australia
“Is a place where you can start at any time and end at any time.” Male driver-partner, 35, from Kanto, Japan
“Flexibility is crucial for me whilst studying. I really enjoy the interaction with my customers and I love the freedom of driving to many areas I would not necessarily visit.” Female driver-partner, 44, from Auckland, New Zealand
“You’re the owner of your own time. I also enjoy driving, cycling, and observing the scenery while driving.” Female driver-partner, 25, from Taiwan
Restaurant- and Merchant-Partners
By making it more convenient to order from a wide range of restaurants, food delivery apps have significantly increased the amount of everyday groceries customers order for delivery:
69% of Uber Eats users say that the availability of food delivery apps has increased the amount of food they order. An independent estimate from prior to the COVID-19 pandemic found that the availability of food delivery services can increase restaurant sales by 30-50%.3
In total, we estimate that in 2021 Uber Eats by itself created US$1.6 billion in additional value for restaurant- and merchant-partners in the Asia-Pacific - and a gross impact of US$17 billion for the regional economy as a whole.
Keeping communities safe
After they have enjoyed an evening out, many people can be anxious about travelling home in the dark. In our polling, 43% of women under 25 said they generally feel unsafe travelling home at night. Before ridesharing, it could be difficult, if not impossible, to find a taxi at the end of a night out - and taking public transport could require a long walk in the dark to your front door, or waiting alone at a bus stop.
Independent academic research has found that having Uber available in a city reduces drunk driving, traffic accidents, and the number of arrests for physical and sexual assault.4 In our polling, 60% agreed that Uber is often the safest way for them to travel home.
Decarbonizing transport is one of the most important steps for countries to achieve net zero emissions, with the sector responsible for around a fifth of global CO2 emissions.5 Cities are concentrated sites of carbon emissions, accounting for ~70% of all emissions globally.
Technologies such as ridesharing can help fill in any gaps in the services offered by public transit, making it easier to get around and reducing the need to own your own car. In our polling, 62% of riders without access to a car said the availability of ridesharing platforms like Uber was important to their choice of not owning a vehicle.
Almost nobody relies exclusively on ridesharing services to travel around an area - instead they form an important complement for public transport, covering those journeys for which other modes of transport would be unsafe, inconvenient or take too long.
Appendix - Methodology
Following the methodology of Brynjolfsson, Collis and Eggers (2019), we asked riders and Uber Eats users a single discrete binary choice question in the form:
“Now imagine you had to choose between the following options. Would you prefer to keep access to [Uber for rideshare/Uber Eats] or go without access to [Uber for rideshare/Uber Eats] for one month and get paid $X?”
The price offered was randomised between $1.25, $2.50, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $200, and $500.
We then computed both a linear and logarithmic regression of the results of this poll to derive a demand curve and the total consumer surplus per user, taking the average as the headline measure.
As part of our polling, we asked riders for the duration of their most recent trip with Uber, and how long the next best alternative would have taken. We then used the difference to estimate time saved per trip, multiplying by Uber provided data on total number of annual trips by region to estimate total time saved per year. We then calculated the monetary value of this using average hourly salary.
Gross Increase in Driver and Delivery-Partner Income
Gross Driver and Delivery-Partner Income is calculated from proprietary data provided by Uber on total driver- and delivery-partner payouts and the number of driver- and delivery-partners partnering with Uber by region.
Increase in Income (%) is taken from the driver- and delivery-partner survey, and the average response to:
“If Uber did not exist, how much do you think you would be likely to earn per week in your next best alternative?”
Value of Flexibility
As part of the driverand delivery-partner survey, we asked the following single discrete binary choice question:
“Imagine you had to choose between one of the following two options:
- Fixed schedule but MORE consistent weekly earnings at X% [lower/higher] level than you do now
- Flexibility to choose your own hours, but earning only the same amount per hour that you do now
Which would you choose?”
X was randomised between 5%, 10%, and 20%. We then used a probit and logit regression to derive a demand curve, and the total driver-partner surplus per user, averaging the results of the two models. This model was conditional on both driver-partner type (rideshare or delivery partner) and location. This was then scaled up to a national level and regional level by data provided by Uber on driver-partner numbers.
Impact on Restaurant- and Merchant-Partners
The model utilises Uber’s internal data on the total payout to restaurant- and merchant-partners via Uber Eats. For restaurants we estimate the proportion that is additional using the average of:
- The self-reported estimate from the consumer polling of how much spend is additional, and would not have been ordered if food delivery apps did not exist.
- The midpoint of Collison (2020)’s estimated range of the proportion of dollars spent on food delivery apps that are incremental.6
Following standard input-output methodology, we used the latest OECD detailed multipliers , to calculate Type 1 and Type 2 output multipliers for restaurants and merchants for each market, before compiling them together to generate a total for the Asia-Pacific region. These multipliers are used to show the total impact via restaurants and merchants that Uber Eats has on the economy.
Total Economic Impact
Total economic impact is calculated as the sum of:
- Driver and delivery-partner payouts.
- Indirect and induced impact of driver and delivery-partner spending on vehicles.
- Induced impact of additional driver and delivery-partner income.
- Indirect and induced impact of restaurant-partner spending via Uber Eats.
This measure is a gross estimate, looking at the total amount of economic activity supported by Uber in the Asia-Pacific. It does not attempt to measure what would happen in a hypothetical where Uber no longer existed. Our modelling does not include the impact of Uber's direct investment or employment footprint as a company, or any spillover effect this has to the wider tech ecosystem.
- Quotes have been edited for spelling and grammar, but are otherwise unchanged.
- Quotes have been edited for spelling and grammar, but are otherwise unchanged.
- The Impact of Online Food Delivery Services on Restaurant Sales, Jack Collison, 2020, https://web.stanford.edu/~leinav/teaching/Collison.pdf
- Driving Safety : An Empirical Analysis of Ridesharing’s Impact on Drunk Driving and Alcohol-Related Crime, Frank Martin-Buck, 2016, https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/3f1e/b273fcee888441147105882dd12ca811fd35.pdf; Ride-Sharing, Fatal Crashes, and Crime, Angela K. Dills and Sean E. Mullholland, 2016, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/soej.12255; Assessing the Impact of Ridesharing Services on Public Health and Safety Outcomes, Marlon Graf, 2017, https://milkeninstitute.org/sites/default/files/reports-pdf/110117-Ridesharing-and-Public-Health.pdf; Rideshare Utilization Decreases Motor Vehicle Trauma and Impaired Driving, Christopher R Conner, Ryan S Kitagawa, Samantha Parker, 2020, https://academic.oup.com/neurosurgery/article/67/Supplement_1/nyaa447_101/5982419