Certify has released its Q1 2019 SpendSmart™ Report, which aggregates receipts and expenses submitted by Certify users and highlights the most popular airline, meal, lodging, and transportation services among North American companies and business travelers. Certify analyzed more than 10 million receipts and expenses in preparing its Q1 report.
A key takeaway from the report is the continued dominance of Uber. The ride hailing giant, which is in the process of going public, was responsible for 73% of all car-related ride hailing transactions in the first quarter. Lyft, meanwhile, took 22% of receipts/expenses in the category for the quarter—a nearly 4% increase over Q1 2018. Taxis accounted for the remaining 6% of first quarter ride hailing transactions.
Uber was also the least expensive car-related ride hailing option among business travelers in Q1, with an average receipt of $25.19 compared to $25.32 for Lyft. Taxis once again brought up the rear on price, with an average transaction of $33.53.* Interestingly, while the average Uber and taxi expenses have remained about the same from Q1 2018 to Q1 2019, the average Lyft price has increased nearly $6 over this time. For the fifth quarter in a row, however, Lyft was the top-rated ride hailing service, with an average rating of 4.9 stars, according to Certify’s 5-star customer rating system.
Uber also dominated the car ride hailing market regionally in Q1 2019, taking the largest percentage of receipts/expenses in San Francisco, Miami, Dallas, Boston, and four other major metros analyzed by Certify. Of the eight markets Certify researched, Uber use was up in Q1 2019 from Q1 2018 in all but two of them—New York and Atlanta declined—and Lyft was up nearly across the board; San Francisco was the lone market dropping off. Taxi use, meanwhile, has fallen precipitously in major markets over the past year—except in New York City, where taxi use increased 5% from Q1 2018.
On the scooter front, Bird was the frontrunner in Q1 2019, collecting 46% of all receipts/expenses compared to 42% for Lime. Razor was third with 8% of scooter transactions, and Scoot finished fourth with 4%. Bird was also the least expensive scooter service, with an average receipt of $5.01 versus Lime at $5.86, Razor at $5.95, and Scoot at $6.23. Bird and Lime were also the top-rated scooters in Q1 2019, each earning a 4.5 star customer rating.
Food delivery was another common business expense in Q1 2019. Grubhub topped the list at 29% of all transactions compared to 21% for Uber Eats, 21% for DoorDash, 14% for Postmates, 10% for Caviar, and 6% for Seamless.**
Caviar was the most expensive food delivery service in Q1 2019, with an average receipt of $113.61 compared to $81.16 for Seamless, $61.57 for Grubhub, $58.72 for DoorDash, $58.25 for Uber Eats, and $56.23 for Postmates. Caviar was also the highest rated service in Q1, scoring a perfect 5.0 in Certify’s 5-star rating system, followed by Uber Eats at 4.6 and Seamless at 4.5. Q1 2019 was the first quarter in which Certify tracked Caviar.
Other items of note from Certify’s Q1 2019 SpendSmart report:
- Uber was the most expensed vendor overall, taking 12% of all transactions.
- Uber also made the biggest jump on the list of most expensed vendors overall, increasing nearly 5% from Q1 2017 to Q1 2019.
- Starbucks was the most expensed food option in Q1 2019, with 5% of transactions.
- Starbucks was the most expensed breakfast option, taking 18% of all breakfast receipts/expenses in Q1 2019, while McDonald’s was the top lunch and dinner choice at 3% and 2% of transactions for those meals, respectively.
- Marriott (9.08%) topped Hampton Inn (8.97%) as the most expensed lodging service in Q1 2019; Marriott was also the most expensive, at $300.58 on average.
- Delta was the most expensed airline in Q1 2019, earning 19% of all category transactions, compared to 17% for American Airlines.
- Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, and Southwest Airlines tied for the top rating among airline vendors, with an average user rating of 4.6 stars.
“Our findings are significant in that they demonstrate continued interest in sharing economy services among businesses and business travelers,” says Robert Neveu, CEO of Certify. “The emergence of scooters-as-a-service shows business travelers are time and cost conscious—if there’s a better way to get around, the business travel community will find it. And finally, I’m pleased to see the diversity of options and parity in the food delivery space. Meals have long been a staple business expense and quick-service providers have dominated the market. But thanks to the sharing economy, companies have more options, which saves them money and increases employee satisfaction.”