Paris protests and a major data leak exposing the personal information of hundreds of drivers are just two more things to add to the litany of unfortunate events to befall Uber.
Since the app-based cab aggregator launched in March of 2009, its existence has been marked by regulatory strife, with many cities imposing strict rules or outright banning the service altogether.
Safety concerns, worry that the drivers can operate outside of the normally strict framework imposed on taxis, and retaliation from registered cab drivers worried about losing business are all being cited as reasons to ban the service, which typically runs cheaper than most cab companies.
But while Uber may be the poster child for cab aggregators, it’s not alone in the market. In fact, it’s expected that global IT spending on cab aggregators will reach $675 million by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 3.4%.
The companies that drive IT spending in this industry are a mashup of mobile payment, maps, fleet management, and data analytics vendors, which combined make a service like Uber viable.
And even though the growth rate isn’t super high, it’s steady and expected to continue on an upwards trajectory over the next four years.
Top trends keeping cab aggregators afloat
Growing use of in-app payment systems and integration with digital wallets
Digital payments are one of the big differences between services like Uber and Ola and conventional cabs. And that little bit of extra convenience is a big factor helping these companies attract millions of riders.
Use of social media and analytics
Cab aggregators gather data from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus for insights on customer behavior. Analytics also helps cab service providers calculate the average trip made by a driver in any given day and arrive at the optimal number of trips for profitability.
Ola and Uber use analytics to measure the demand and supply of their operations. They can place more cabs when the demand is high in a particular area. It also helps drivers understand the pattern of demand during peak hours and lets them implement dynamic pricing models such as peak-time pricing based on data derived from analytical technology.
In addition, cabs are equipped with systems that store real-time information like the speed of the vehicle, traffic densities, and road conditions, which can be shared with traffic authorities to help reduce congestion. For example, Ola is planning to provide its data to transport authorities in Mumbai and Bangalore in India, and Micab is collaborating with Cebu in the Philippines to provide traffic-related data.
Expansion of service portfolio
App-based cab aggregators are looking to capitalize on their recent popularity by expanding their service portfolios in categories like food, grocery, and courier delivery.
Uber has come up with the uberEATS app for placing orders for food delivery and uberRUSH app for courier services and Ola now provides the Olacafe app for food delivery services and Olastore for grocery delivery services.
Single interface for cab aggregators
An app that can integrate all the apps of cab aggregators on a single platform is the next big trend Technavio expects to see in the market. Scoot is providing an app that compares the prices and availability of taxi hailing services, and gives customers an estimated arrival time for all cabs in the area.
The ixigo and EK apps provide a platform to book the nearest and cheapest cabs. The apps currently allow users to browse and choose from over 250+ offline taxi providers (local taxi and cab providers) in over 100 cities.
This is one area where Ola and Uber might need to pull up their socks and catch up—both services do not allow users to book with outside companies, which could affect the growth of both aggregators over the projected period.