Uber driver sitting in car

Uber or Lyft: Which ride-hailing service do Canadians prefer?

asiadmin | May 10, 2019  | Market Research, News, Pop Culture | No Comments

Photo by Dan Gold, Unsplash

The two biggest players in the ride-hailing industry are Uber and Lyft. With these two ride-hailing juggernauts about to compete as publicly traded companies, Polly wanted to know which ride-hailing service Canadians prefer.

Here is what she found:

  • Lyft is more popular in cities that don’t actually have the service
  • In areas where both ride-hailing services are available, support is nearly even

Canadians are split on which ride-hailing service they prefer. When it comes to Uber, 49% (± 1%) have a positive stance toward the company while in comparison, 48% (± 1%) of Canadians have a positive stance toward Lyft.

What’s interesting is in provinces that don’t have Lyft, Lyft is considerably more popular. In Newfoundland where neither service is available, 67% (± 2%) of the population has a positive stance toward Lyft compared to only 38% (± 1%) having a positive stance toward Uber. In Saskatchewan, where Uber is available in certain cities but Lyft isn’t, 70% (± 2%) of people have a positive view of Lyft, while 59% (± 1%) have a positive view of Uber.

In other words, people generally have a more positive view of Lyft when they don’t have the service in their area. In Ontario, where both services are available in multiple cities, 50% (± 1%) have a positive stance on Lyft, 17% (± 1%) are undecided, and 33% (± 1%) have a negative stance. For Uber, the stances are quite similar with 50% (± 1%) having a positive stance, 21% (± 1%) are undecided, 30% (± 1%) have a negative stance.

Lyft comes to CanadaUber and Lyft net positive comparison chart

Uber had a long head start on Lyft in the Canadian market, having started operations north of the border in 2012. Lyft first came to Canada in 2017 and was generally seen more positively than Uber by Canadians.  Up to 2019, Lyft had a higher net positive view from Canadians than Uber, but that changed at the start of the year and Uber is now seen more positively than Lyft. From its peak in 2018 at 35% net positive, Lyft currently has an approx. 5% net positive stance among Canadians compared to approx. 14% net positive for Uber.

While Uber has dealt with some controversies since it started in 2012, as Lyft grows it has had to deal with its own controversies, including suing the city of New York over driver minimum wage rules in January of this year.

Lyft  can’t compete with Uber’s engagement

Engagement Chart Uber vs Lyft

When Lyft first entered the Canadian market in 2017, the amount of Canadians engaging on the topic of Uber plateaued while engagement on Lyft grew slowly and steadily. That trend changed in 2018 when engagement on the topic of Uber among  Canadians grew significantly, going from 500,000 people engaging on the topic of Uber at the start of 2018 to almost 700,000 by the start of 2019. Lyft has continued to see its engagement grow gradually, but nowhere near the level of Uber. Currently, the number of Canadians engaging on the topic of Lyft is at the highest it’s ever been at approx. 250,000.

As it stands, Uber is the most recognized ride-hailing service among Canadians as it is offered in more provinces and cities in Canada than its competitor. If Lyft continues to expand its operations to more provinces and municipalities across Canada, trends can certainly change, but for the time-being, Uber is the most recognized ride-hailing service in Canada.


Research Study Information:
Sample size:  266,493
Date range:  May 10, 2018 – May 10, 2019

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