Uber has been having a rough time. Despite being the first name most people seem to think of when they need to get a ride somewhere, there have been allegations of misconduct within the company. Several of them.
Since one of those allegations is sexism within the company, many might believe that the millennials, the company’s bread and butter, would have turned their back on the company. They would be wrong, apparently.
YouGov’s survey measures year-to-year changes in perception, and shows both overall rankings and improvements in terms of how consumers perceive brands. Uber was the biggest gainer among “improvers”; as YouGov reported in their survey write-up:
Uber made the largest customer gains since the first half of 2016, climbing eight percentage points to 26% of all millennials recently using the service. Its main rival, Lyft, made the third biggest leap at six percentage points, putting it at 12%. Fellow sharing economy brand Airbnb made the list as the 12th biggest gainer. These three names among the top twenty underscore just how pervasive sharing has become and may disrupt other industries such as automotive and hotels.
It’s unclear why millennials have an increasing positive perception of Uber, particularly given the aforementioned spate of scandals and the evidence that said scandals drove many consumers to turn towards rival Lyft instead. It may be that, like Wal-Mart, some consumers are more interested in low prices than a company’s moral scruples, as YouGov BrandIndex’s CEO Ted Marzilli believes.
It may also be that Uber has a phenomenal PR apparatus that is able to deflect negative press. While the company’s 2017 budget for advertising and PR is not known, leaked documents from 2016 reveal that the company spent around $200 million on marketing in the second fiscal quarter of 2015, according to Forbes.
There are other alternatives that don’t appear to have been considered. It’s possible that people simply judged the company based on their own experiences with it, where they saw nothing but a quality company, for example. After all, no matter what happens at the top, the average consumer will never deal with those people. They deal with the drivers who pick them up and take them other places in clean, safe vehicles for lower rates than a cab would.
Another alternative might be that millennials aren’t as concerned about things like allegations of sexism as most of us might think. Keep in mind that millennials are also embracing traditional marriage roles at far higher rates than the immediately preceding generations did. This indicates that they might not be as embracing of feminist rhetoric as many of us have believed, which could lead to skepticism over the allegations.
Regardless of the reasons, this is good news for Uber. It indicates there’s groundwork in place for the company to fully rebound from the recent scandals and poor publicity. For the drivers, many of whom draw a significant portion of their income from working with Uber, this is nothing but good news.