Uber beats Q4 2020 earnings expectations but misses on $3.17 billion in revenue amid slow pandemic recovery

  • Uber on Wednesday reported $3.17 billion in Q4 revenue, missing expectations of $3.58 billion.
  • Uber reported GAAP losses per share of $0.54, beating analyst expectations of $0.55.
  • Uber’s valuation doubled in 2020 despite the pandemic and the company’s inability to turn a profit.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Uber on Wednesday reported it had beat Wall Street’s expectations on earnings but missed on revenue expectations, while posting its eleventh consecutive unprofitable quarter.

The company generated $3.17 billion in revenue in Q4 2020, down 16% year-on-year.

The company’s core ride-hailing business has been hit hard during the pandemic, while its food-delivery arm, Uber Eats, has thrived, bringing in more revenue than rides for the third straight quarter.

After lagging behind the market for most of 2020, Uber’s stock has soared in recent months after its Q3 earnings suggested the company may be bouncing back.

Here are the key numbers, as well as what Wall Street was expecting. Estimates are based on Yahoo Finance consensus data. 

  • Revenue (GAAP): $3.17 billion, down 16% year-on-year ($3.58 billion expected)
  • Net loss (GAAP): $968 million
  • Loss Per Share (GAAP): $0.54 ($0.55 expected)
  • Mobility gross bookings (Adjusted EBITDA): $6.79 billion, down 50% year-on-year
  • Delivery gross bookings (Adjusted EBITDA): $10.1 billion, up 130% year-on-year
  • Monthly active platform customers (MAPCs): 93 million, down 16% year-on-year
  • Trips: 144.3 million, down 24% year-on-year

Ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft saw earnings plummet in 2020 as COVID-19 lockdowns curbed travel for most of the year.

After reporting revenue $4.07 billion in GAAP revenues for Q4 2019, Uber’s revenue declined to $3.54 billion in Q1 2020 and $2.24 billion in Q2 2020. But thanks to Uber Eats softening the blow and rides recovering a bit, Uber bounced back with revenues of $3.13 billion in Q3 2020.

Still, Uber faces a tough road ahead as car ownership rates surge, Millennials and Gen Z move away from cities, and more companies embrace work-from-home policies.

As Uber continues to search for a route to profitability, it dodged a major roadblock in November by persuading California voters to pass Proposition 22, a law Uber helped author that exempts it from complying with the state’s labor laws, allowing it to classify drivers as contractors.

Experts have previously told Insider being able to rely on contract workers may cut Uber’s labor costs by as much as 30%. But the company has received growing backlash from drivers, many of whom work full-time for rideshare and food delivery companies, over shrinking wages, a lack of benefits, and an inability to address concerns with Uber.

The classification issue likely won’t go away anytime soon, as the Biden administration has signaled it wants to make many gig workers employees.

Investors will also be looking closely at how Uber’s string of major acquisitions have impacted its business. Uber acquired delivery rival Postmates for $2.65 billion before laying off 15% of its workforce last month, and bought alcohol delivery startup Drizly for $1.1 billion last week.

Uber also trimmed down last year, selling off some of its most unprofitable units: Aurora bought ATG, Uber’s autonomous vehicle unit; Joby acquired Uber Elevate in return for an investment from Uber; and Uber offloaded its struggling e-bike unit, Jump, to Lime.

Axel Springer, Insider Inc.’s parent company, is an investor in Uber.

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