Despite One Million Downloads, Uber Is Still 'No Threat' To Taxis, Says Research

A survey has revealed that 5.1 per cent of Australians aged 14 and over (that's 989,000 people) reported travelling by Uber at least once in any given three-month period -- but this large uptake is not yet posing a threat to Taxi drivers, say researchers.

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan Research who conducted the survey between July and December last year, says "Despite the concerns of traditional taxi drivers, Uber does not yet pose a threat to their market dominance -- around a quarter of the population still travel by taxi in an average three months.

"However, we will be monitoring closely how/if this changes in the coming year. In the meantime, taxi companies wishing to compete in this dramatically shifting scene would do well to identify those individuals who are least likely to switch to Uber and focus some concerted attention on ensuring their continued custom."

Almost three quarters of them were aged between 18 and 34, while less than 10 per cent were aged 50 and older.

Just over one million Australians (or 5.3 per cent) have downloaded the Uber app, and again, it’s the younger age brackets that comprise the lion’s share of downloaders: more than six in every 10, of them, in fact. Furthermore, of the 555,000 Australians (2.8 per cent) who use their Uber app on their mobile phone in an average four weeks, more than two-thirds are from the 18-24 and 25-34 year-old age groups.

Uber users and app-downloads broken down by age:

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July–December 2015, n=50,276. Base: Australians 14+

Uber’s adoption rates vary between the states, with Western Australians embracing the service with particular enthusiasm. Not only do 10.5 per cent of them travel by Uber in any given three months (more than double the national average), 7.6 per cent have downloaded the Uber app and 4.3 per cent use the app on their mobile phone in an average four weeks. The fact that a higher proportion are travelling by Uber than have downloaded the app indicates that many of WA’s Uber passengers travel with others who have not yet downloaded the app themselves.

Despite remaining illegal in Victoria, the state’s residents are the second-most likely to travel by Uber in an average three-month period (5.3 per cent). When it comes to downloading the app, Queenslanders follow WA residents -- although like Victoria, the company is also illegal in the Sunshine State.

Tasmania and South Australia remain relatively oblivious to the Uber phenomenon.

Levine says, "Just like the equally ground-breaking start-up, Airbnb, Uber was founded in San Francisco and has since spread like wildfire around the globe, often causing consternation among established taxi companies and governments wrestling with its legal implications. While NSW and ACT have legalised and regulated Uber, and WA is on the way to doing the same, other states have not yet welcomed it (which hasn’t prevented it from operating in those states).

"Since its late-2012 launch in Sydney, Uber has gone nationwide, with WA leading the country in Uber uptake. As we have shown above, younger Aussies (aged under 35) are far more likely than their older counterparts to travel by Uber and download the app: hardly surprising, given that most of them have grown up with digital technology."



    I use both for different purposes. I'll hail a cab on the street when in the cbd, but there is no chance I'll order an unreliable slow cab to pick me up when I can order an uber who is more worried about their rating. I've had plenty of cabs take an hour or more, or never show up. I've only ever had one uber cancel on me when it popped into surge pricing after booking.

      I have never had a cab no-show and whenever I have ordered one, it has arrived in at least as timely a manner as my neighbour's Uber ride. Usually I will order the night before (because 99% of my taxi rides are to/from the airport) and in those cases the taxi is ALWAYS early for pick-up. The bottom line is that I have never been late, never missed a flight, because of a taxi's tardiness.

      A 20 year-old friend of mine who doesn't drive uses both Uber and taxis. She'll look on Uber to see if there are any drivers around. If there aren't she'll order a taxi. She reckons she probably takes more taxis than Uber rides overall, even though we only live about 3km from the Sydney CBD. So I think Uber have a way to go before they have enough coverage to make them a threat to taxis.

        Last time we waited an hour for an order of two cabs to get to a party. I gave up, ordered two users and they arrived in three minutes.

    Just wait until businesses decide to let their employees use uber instead of taxis. I can hear the fat lady warming up already

    Tasmania and South Australia remain relatively oblivious to the Uber phenomenon.

    Not all uber services are available in all states. Uber X is not available in SA which probably explains why it's adoption hasn't been noteworthy.

    Roy Morgan are such nerds - the numbers now are irrelevant, it the growth rate that is significant, and uber usage globally is growing exponentially and will grow rapidly over the next year see as an example of what is happening (look at china, wow)

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