Reuters / Brendan McDermid
- Uber stands to lose its dominant position in both Europe and Latin America, HSBC analysts say.
- The ride-hailing giant is set to keep its pole position in places like the US, where a duopoly is all but solidified.
- But in other markets, especially for food delivery, there’s still plenty of capital for smaller startups to raise.
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Uber’s stranglehold on most ride-hailing markets around the world is set, but there are still a few areas where competitors could erode enough customers to put a dent in Uber’s armor.
Europe and Latin America, in particular, are vulnerable to encroachment from smaller upstarts, HSBC analysts said earlier this month when they launched coverage of Uber.
"Much of our long-term thesis on Uber is about rationalization," the bank’s team, led by Masha Kahn, Henning Cosman, and Tessie Petion, said in a note to clients.
"But near term," they continued, "we see new competitors in ride-hailing coming into Uber’s markets outside the US. While the US has turned into a duopoly between Lyft and Uber (and there is hardly any room for a third player), we think Uber’s position in Europe and Latin America is still vulnerable to ride-hailing competition."
Uber’s market-leading position is even less secure when it comes to food delivery, HSBC says.
In the US alone, there are a handful of delivery-specific startups hoping to eat Uber Eats’ lunch as the company expands its platform beyond taxi rides and into food, groceries, and more.
"Uber’s competitors have good access to funding," HSBC said. "The online food delivery industry is less mature than ride-hailing, and hence all players have the potential to take share from the large offline takeaway market (and potentially from dine-in and even grocery segments."
Despite the words of caution, HSBC, like most other Wall Street research shops, is bullish on Uber with a price target of $49, or roughly 10% higher than where shares were trading on Friday. However, the team has rated the stock a "hold," rather than buy or sell, because of ongoing legal challenges and the previously mentioned competition.
"We see many opportunities to diversify Uber’s product offering and consolidate existing markets," HSBC said. "Yet we think this is somewhat offset by competitive and regulatory headwinds and relative valuation (even incorporating long-term margin guidance) compared to other marketplaces (e-commerce, food delivery, etc.) and internet companies."
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