SAN FRANCISCO — Uber is famed for its confrontational company approach.Â Â But this time it’s riders who are becoming in Uber’s face.
Alyson DeNardo says she utilized Uber and UberEats over any other app on her mobile phone.Â Â Then she read Fowler’s lengthy blog article alleging the company ignored her complaints of sexual harassment and abused female employees. She says itÂ made her stomach turn.
“I was outraged as a customer with their product and significantly concerned for each and every girl who works at Uber,” said DeNardo, who is head of public relations and societal websites for Justin Kan Enterprises and start-up incubator Zero-F at San Francisco. “I refuse to support a company which actively puts the operation of the company over the well-being of the employees.”
Now she’s riding public transportation and Lyft. And DeNardo says she is not alone. “I find it incredibly difficult to find anybody that will vocally acknowledge they still useÂ Â Â Uber,” she explained.
Despite taking heat for its company culture and business practice, Uber remainsÂ Â the most common app. And itÂ might fix its image with consumers, who frequently don’t adhere to pledgesÂ of a boycott. Downloads, which fell following the late January #deleteuber effort, have bounced back.
However, spending is down, ratings are reduced and other riders say if it hadn’t been already deleted by them — they, too, would delete the Uber app.
‘Point of no return’
Jamie Rondeau, a small business owner andÂ mother of fourÂ Â byÂ Â a suburb outside Phoenix, states she’dÂ Â always valued Uber’s “disrupter” mindset, building a successful ventureÂ Â by shaking up the status quo and making new and improved options for consumers.
But she quit Uber after the JFK airport incident. Fowler’s charges, ” she says, were “the point of no return.”Â Â She jumps on public transportation, rents cars and awakens cabs. For an upcoming business trip to Atlanta, she plans to get Lyft.
“I’ve a great deal of choices and I am going to vote with my money,” Rondeau said.
Data from consumer spending analytics company TXN Solutions reveals since the #DeleteUber effort began in late January, the market share of Uber has slipped by about 5%Â Â and, all these researchers say, it’s not rebounding.
The week before the #DeleteUber campaign, Uber had 83.5% of their ride-hailing marketplace and Lyft’d 16.5%, based on TXN, whichÂ crunches data on spending habitsÂ from a research panel of more than 3 million customers.
Uber’s troubles led to market-share profits for Lyft, which had 20.9% of the market following #DeleteUber and obtained another bulge to 21.3% after Fowler’s blog post. The decline in Uber’s market share was consistent in most of its top markets: New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, TXN found.
“Consumers have a brief memory plus some percentage of those individuals will return. But all these negative stories have kept the numbers suppressed and they have not rebounded to their historic average,”Â TXN CEO Jonathan Wolf said.
Downloads up, Evaluations down
But will that last? Uber says it hadn’t seen a significantÂ Â uptick in individuals deleting the program in the last 60 days, thoughÂ Â Â it didn’t offer ridership numbers.Â Â Downloads overÂ the last couple of weeks have been greater than average, according to researchÂ Â company Mobile Action.
The bottom line: When it comes to putting their money where their mouth is about social media, consumers often don’t follow through with their threats to boycott companies or they don’t boycott businesses for long.
That’s what analytics firm App Annie found. It saysÂ Â Â Lyft temporarily uttered Uber from iPhone app downloads for the first time throughout the #DeleteUber campaign in late January, but Uber shortly recovered.Â Â “On the whole, we have not seen a significant or lasting shift in daily download trends for Uber in light of recent events,” said App Annie spokeswoman Christine Kim.
Riders are expressing their unhappiness with Uber in another manner, according to App Annie. New evaluations of Uber’s program in the Apple store mostly include 1-star testimonials while Lyft has averaged 4.5-star reviews, it discovered.
At precisely the same time, spending nationally on Uber in the four weeks following Jan. 30 fell 2% compared to the prior four weeks, whilst Lyft spending jumped 30 percent. The #DeleteUber campaign gathered momentum on Jan. 30 after a weekend of protests from the travel ban.
At a breakdown of nearly 40 U.S. markets, spending over the two ride-hailing apps shifted dramatically inÂ Â several cities. In Minneapolis-St. Paul, Uber spending declinedÂ Â Â 7% while Lyft spending surged 24 percent; at the companies’ hometowns of San Francisco, Uber was down 8 percent and Lyft grew up 24%.
To know why, just ask a technology supervisor from Boston who downloaded the Lyft app and used it for around San Francisco last week, Forest Handford.
He says he deleted theÂ Uber to Trump’s immigration ban over its response. “Reading Susan Fowler’s blog article,” he explained, “made me even more thankful that I had.”
Handford says he isÂ fed up with girls havingÂ to endure harassment sexism and discrimination at the male-dominated tech industry.
Allyson Kapin founder of Rad Campaign and Women Who Tech at Washington, D.C., says previous incidents, for example Uber advertising that has been demeaning to women and a topÂ Â Â executive’s suggestion that the company conduct opposition research on journalists that are critical of Uber, were shocking and disappointing but had not kept her from hailing rides onÂ Â Â the smartphone app.
“The last straw for me was hearing Susan’s story,” she said. “I won’t financially support a business which tolerates sexual harassment.”
Kapin, who’s switched to Lyft Â and is pushing forÂ Â Â businesses such as Uber to fix their “brogrammer” corporate culture,Â says she won’t ride Uber again with no “revolutionary culture change that begins in the top.”
“Uber has a real chance to take a step back and get this right,” Kapin said, “and function as a model for other businesses.”
But for some, it’s too late. They say they haveÂ Â stopped Uber for good.
“I can’t think of anything that Uber can do that would bring me,” DeNardoÂ said. “They could provide me complimentary transport for a year and I’d adamantly refuse.”