In Sri Lanka, Uber and Uber Eats have constantly evolved to meet changing needs, used technology to save time, helped expand mobility options and choice, supported small businesses, and provided flexible earning opportunities for thousands of drivers and delivery partners. 

Our approach to reimagining the way consumers navigate their everyday life has had a meaningful impact on the Sri Lankan economy. 

The report takes a deeper look into the factors behind this economic contribution and the enhancement of the safety and sustainability of the industry. It highlights how both Uber and Uber Eats have continually evolved to meet changing needs, using technology to save time, helping expand mobility options and choices, supporting small businesses, and providing flexible earning opportunities for thousands of drivers and delivery partners in Sri Lanka. 

Uber’s 2021 Sri Lanka Economic Impact Report, compiled by Public First, a UK-based policy research firm, was launched at an event in the national capital. The report highlights how Uber and Uber Eats have helped transform the on-demand economy for consumers, drivers and delivery partners, and the wider community by generating LKR 81 billion for the Sri Lankan economy in 2021. 

The report was launched by Uber’s Senior Director for Public Policy & Government Relations for the Asia Pacific region, Mr. Mike Orgill; who was joined by Uber’s Director of Regional Operations for India and South Asia region, Mr. Shiva Shailendran, along with Uber Sri Lanka’s leadership team members, including Ms. Bhavna Dadlani Jayawardana, General Manager, Uber Eats; and, Ms. Thanushika Sivanathan, Country Manager, Uber Rides. It takes a deeper look into the factors behind this economic contribution and the enhancement of safety and sustainability in the industry. 

A message from the Hon’ble Prime Minister Mr. Dinesh Gunawardena, Government of Sri Lanka, said, “Sri Lanka is at an inflection point as we work towards providing a supportive political and regulatory environment besides macroeconomic stability during this period of fiscal consolidation. We appreciate the commitment of global companies like Uber who have become a part of the fabric of Sri Lanka – making an economic impact at scale and positively contributing towards transforming the country. We look forward to their continued good work while making impactful contributions for decades to come.”

Mike Orgill, Senior Director, Public Policy & Government Relations, APAC at Uber, said: “Uber has been an important engine of economic growth and opportunity in Sri Lanka since 2015, but we never knew the extent of our contribution. This research shows for the first time the impact on drivers and delivery partners, consumers, and the economy as a whole. It reaffirms the importance of flexible work opportunities and spotlights how expanded mobility options and choice as part of the on-demand economy have created critical value for the Sri Lankan economy. It makes our resolve stronger than ever before to continue working for the community and deploying our technology and global expertise to contribute to Sri Lanka’s growth.” 

Key findings of the report include:

Uber’s contribution to the Sri Lankan economy

  • Uber and Uber Eats created an estimated LKR 81 billion in economic value for the Sri Lankan economy
  • Together, Uber (27 bn) and Uber Eats (25 bn) produced LKR 52 billion in consumer surplus in 2021, which is equivalent to 0.3% of the country’s GDP.

On-demand services boosted small business recovery 

  • Uber Eats encouraged Sri Lankans to support local restaurants and merchants which they would otherwise not have had access to, leading to LKR 2.1 billion in additional revenue and a gross impact of LKR 51 billion for the Sri Lankan economy as a whole.
  • 88% of Uber Eats users agree that food delivery apps made it easier to discover new restaurants.
  • 74% of users have ordered from restaurants they had never tried before.

Drivers and delivery people value flexibility

  • In 2021, we estimate that drivers made an additional LKR 775 million a year in earnings through Uber or an average of 27% more than their next best alternative.

Consumer behavior helped to drive innovation

  • Consumers are prioritizing convenience and reliability, with Uber estimated to save riders in Sri Lanka over 3.7 million hours a year leaving more time for family and friends.
  • On average, Uber riders saved 9 minutes per trip compared to the next best alternative, leaving more time for family and friends.
  • Uber and Uber Eats produced LKR 52 billion in consumer surplus* for Sri Lankans in 2021.
  • Uber’s trackable point-to-point transport solutions are helping to fill the inevitable gaps in public transport, with 1 in 7 trips taken with the Uber app connecting with public transport.
  • Safety is a top reason for choosing the platform with 96% of female riders saying that safety is an important factor in their choice to use the Uber app.
  • Having access to sustainable ride-sharing platforms encouraged users to not own a vehicle. 
  • According to Sri Lankan riders, ridesharing is the most significant transport innovation they have experienced in the last decade.

You can read the full report, including the methodology here

* One of the most important measures of economic welfare – is the amount you would pay someone to voluntarily give up a good or service. If a good has a zero consumer surplus, that implies we can take or leave it – whereas goods with a high consumer surplus are playing an important role in our lives.