Roy Morgan Research
July 08, 2019

Uber set to overtake taxis in Australia

Topic: Press Release
Finding No: 8048
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New research from Roy Morgan shows that with over 4.4 million Australians (21.5% of the population) using Uber in an average three months the popular ride-sharing app is set to overtake the traditional taxi as Australia’s preferred private transportation service during 2019.

Uber’s 4.4 million Australian customers are now within touching distance of the almost 4.5 million Australians (21.7%) that use taxis in an average three months.

Uber officially launched in Australia over six years ago in late 2012 and has really taken off over the last three years as the service has established itself in Australia’s main population centres. Patronage of Uber has grown from 6.6% in mid-2016 to 21.5% now, an increase of 14.9ppts in under three years.

During the same time period fewer Australians are using taxis but the decline has been far gentler down from 24.4% in mid-2016 to 21.7% now, a drop of only 2.7ppts.

Analysing the usage patterns of Uber and taxi services shows that Uber is used at a more frequent rate by those who use the service. Uber customers take an average of over 4.1 trips in an average three months compared to fewer than 3.8 trips taken by Australians who use taxis.

% of Australians travelling by Uber and Taxis in an average three months

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015 – June 2016 through to April 2018 – March 2019. Rolling 12 month quarterly figures. Average 12 month figure, n=14,762. Base: Australians 14+.

Uber is preferred to taxis by Technology ‘Early Adopters’ and ‘Digital Life’

Roy Morgan’s Technology Adoption Segments split Australians by their interest and use of technology into six segments. In order of declining technology interest these are: “Technology Early Adopters”, “Professional Technology Mainstream”, “Digital Life”, “Older Tech Explorers”, “Technology Traditionalists” and “Technophobes”.

Roy Morgan Technology Adoption Segments:

• Technology Early Adopters (17% of Australians): Always first to purchase and use new technologies, these people are well educated with high incomes and risk-taking tendencies

• Professional Technology Mainstream (18%): Ambitious individuals who adopt technology fairly early for career and time-saving purposes

• Digital Life (14%): Typically students and young part-time workers, this segment is fast to adopt to social media styles of technology

• Older Tech Explorers (9%): Generally older, this segment is passionate about new technology but cautious about spending money on it

• Technology Traditionalists (24%): Usually aged 45+, these individuals are wary of change and only adopt new technology once it’s become mainstream

• Technophobes (18%): The oldest segment, technophobes aren’t so much scared of new technology as uninterested, preferring more traditional pursuits (TV, gardening, reading).

Unsurprisingly Uber has been a big hit for “Technology Early Adopters” with 40% travelling by Uber in an average three months compared to 30% that have travelled by taxi. Those in the “Digital Life” segment are also more likely to have travelled by Uber (23%) than by taxi (16%).

However taxis (30%) still hold a marginal advantage amongst the “Professional Technology Mainstream” ahead of Uber (26%).

Taxis are also the preferred personal transportation vehicle of choice for the ‘Laggards’ known as “Technophobes”. Nearly twice as many “Technophobes” travel by taxis (17%) than travel by Uber (10%).

Uber and taxi travellers by Technology Adoption Segments

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2018 – March 2019. n=14,762. Base: Australians 14+ travelled by Uber or taxi in an average three months.

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, says:

Block Quote

“Uber has been a phenomenal success story in Australia with the ride-sharing app now on the verge of overtaking taxis as Australians’ preferred mode of private transportation service.

“Now 21.5% of Australians travel by Uber in an average three months an increase of 14.9ppts in under three years and on the verge of overtaking taxis used by 21.7% of Australians.

“Uber is also used at a more frequent rate by those who use the service. Uber customers take an average of over 4.1 trips in an average three months compared to fewer than 3.8 trips taken by Australians who use taxis.

“As we’ve previously explored Uber is more popular with certain age groups and in certain areas of Australia. Earlier this year we noted that Uber had already overtaken taxis in three Australian States including Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia and today’s research reveals that it is the ‘Early Adopters’ that have really driven uptake of the ride-sharing app.

“Already two-fifths of Early Adopters use Uber in an average three months which is significantly higher than the 30% who use taxis and there is a clear co-relation between where someone is on the Technology Adoption Segments curve and how likely they are to travel by Uber.

“Roy Morgan’s Technology Adoption Segments categorise the population according to their uptake of new technologies and by doing so the Technology Adoption Segmentation provide a new level of understanding to help you target your best prospects and to inform your important marketing decisions.

“Understanding these segments allows you to tailor your product launches, digital marketing campaigns and technology-led offerings to the most receptive audience.

“What’s more, with the power of Roy Morgan Single Source, your new-found understanding of each Segment’s attitude towards technology will also help you predict many of their other attitudes, preferences and consumer behaviours.”

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Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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