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Debate Settled! Ola Is Twice as Large As Uber, Gets 2.5X Calls Compared to Uber

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Cab hailing market calls India

The war of words and bitter rivalry between cab app aggregators Uber and Ola has been a hotly discussed topic in the media.

Earlier in March, Uber’s President of business in Asia, Eric Alexander, had claimed that Uber will surpass Ola in India within a month. This statement actually triggered the war of words between these two taxi app behemoths.

A month after Eric’s statement, Ola claimed that their newly launched ‘Micro’ category alone had beaten the entire Uber Fleet.

While we had statements from both these companies, there was no way to authenticate statement from either of them. There was no third party data that could verify the market share of these cab aggregators up until now.

Truecaller, one of the most widely used caller identification app has finally given us authentic third party data that should put this debate to rest!

Ola is More Than Twice as Big as Uber

Homegrown Ola is more than twice as big as Uber – Truecaller’s Trueinsights report analysed around 2.5 billion calls made between consumers and service providers to understand the penetration of cab services in the country. Analysis of data between Jan 01, 2016 and April 17, 2016 revealed that 102 million calls were made between Ola and its users compared to 39 million calls for Uber. The distribution of calls between Ola and Uber stands at 72% and 28% respectively.

While the numbers do not give market share – the number of calls give us a fair idea of how many cab requests were made to Ola vs Uber. Even if we consider that Ola has more cancellations than Uber (which we think would be same for both), still Ola remains far ahead of Uber in terms of market share!

Ola Vs Uber Market Share

The Cab hailing market in India

Truecaller’s TrueInsights report also gives us peek into burgeoning cab hailing market in India. According to the report, from January 1st to April 17th, Indian smartphone owners made and received 2.49 billion calls to some sort of cab or car service.

This also shows that even though Ola and Uber are talked about in the media quite frequently, other unorganized cab rental providers have a huge market. Out of 2.4 billion calls made to service providers, half of them were for other driving services like private drivers, transportation services and other unorganized taxi providers.

Here is a graph that gives you an idea of share of call volume.

Share of call volume

The debate is settled – Homegrown Ola is far bigger than Uber in India and we don’t see this equation changing anytime soon!

Source: TrueInsights

"Debate Settled! Ola Is Twice as Large As Uber, Gets 2.5X Calls Compared to Uber", 4 out of 5 based on 6 ratings.
  1. Mohit says

    Aren’t we jumping to conclusions too soon? It seemed like you wanted to be the first entity to declare you know the true market shares of Ola and Uber. Look at your title, “Debate Settled!”.

    Initially, I thought the calls were between the Call Center and riders, until I read the comments. The first question that came to my mind was, “How does Truecaller know who’s a driver?”. The second was, “How can they differentiate an Ola v/s Uber driver?”. What is really the credibility of this data and what’s happening to our privacy?

    If half of uber drivers call, and all of Ola drivers call, then the market shares would change by a lot. Then Ola wouldn’t beat Uber hands down. That’s a very biased thinking and seems like the jump to conclusion is irreversible.

    Here’s the note on Truecaller blog:
    “Note & Methodology
    The data in this article was analyzed from incoming and outgoing calls tagged as taxi services in India during the period of January 1, 2016 to April 17, 2016. These insights are purely based on our internal data and does not reflect the entire usage of any of the services and Truecaller does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of such data. All brands mentioned are the property of their respective owners. Use of these brands does not imply any co-operation or endorsement.”

    Lastly, if you really want to know the market shares, just do a market research of drivers and riders. Put in some money and credibility and then you can write, “Debate Settled!”

    PS: From my conversations with riders in Pune, it seems Ola leads Uber in Pune. In Bangalore, I think Uber leads.

    1. Arun says

      Before I reply, please understand that I am personally a die-hard Uber user. In my 50 rides… I might have used Ola at max 3-4 times… so personally, I am a Uber fan… However, coming to the report… Now when we said debate settled, it was because, for the first time a third party has come out with some numbers (which I assume is impartial) Like I mentioned in other comment… even if we take that Ola get far more calls…the equation will change slightly.. the report says (72% for Ola and 28% for Uber) so even if we take about 25% more calls per ride for Ola…still it will be something like 65% to 35%…
      If not via calls…do you think there is any other way to find the real market share…? Is it possible?

      1. Mohit says

        I was assuming that these are unquie calls and does not include repeat calls for a single ride. I was also assuming that total unique ride:call ratio for Ola is 1:1 and for Uber is 2:1, based on my experience. That would make their market shares 57% v/s 43%. The problem is that there are still high impact unknowns in this data.

        Ola had 102m calls in those 108 days which makes it roughly a million calls a day. That’s also what they claim to be their ride count. Uber had 39m calls (~4 lac calls a day), 65% of which were from riders to drivers, compared to 58% for Ola. Someone claimed uber drivers don’t call much, but that’s only a 7% absolute difference. But still can we conclude?

        How do we know what’s the true picture? How many of Ola v/s Uber drivers/riders use Truecaller and how accurately can Truecaller can track them? That’s why even Truecaller put out that disclaimer. When they are not so confident about their own data, how can you be? Of course, you can say that they are being legally safe, but again that would be a speculation.

        To know the true picture, you either bribe Ola/uber employees for data, or hack/crack their systems, or befriend their investors, or conduct a city-wise market research taking 100 random driver/rider samples each, or wait for them to go public, or keep guesstimating. I don’t know and I won’t claim I do.

    2. Mohit says

      I’m very disappointed with this Arnab Goswami style of reporting. Having an opinion is one thing and claiming that the debate is settled is another. I’m still coming to terms with my favourite startup news source, trak.in, putting it out like this.

  2. Ankit says

    Are we assuming here that number of calls is directly co-related with bookings. A lot of cases where an Uber drive/user is more savvy and does not make multiple calls (i know from speaking to a few Uber drivers that Uber specifically instructs drivers to not call their riders unless absolutely necessary). Again, what if Uber drivers don’t have to make more calls per ride to find exact addresses or the riders don’t have to make for calls per ride because their Uber drivers comes well within time.

    maybe a directional guidance but I doubt this allows for any conclusive insight into who is bigger. Truecaller would i am sure have data to infer how many unqiue calls were made between riders and Uber. Now that analysis is something I would get by

    PS: Have no affiliation with Uber except being a avid Uber user and fan

    1. Arun Prabhudesai says

      Ankit, I in fact agree with you.. I personally love Uber and 90% of travels are with Uber… However, like I said even if Uber had multiple calls or cancellations, the difference between the two is so huge that there is no doubt Ola beats Uber hands down.
      Also, this finding is critical, because it is for the first time that a third party is giving some sort of a data, which could be relied upon more than what Ola/Uber have themselves claimed.
      Another point that this finding shatters is that Uber is close to overtaking Ola – that I think is absolutely wrong…

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