How should Uber counter falling driver sign-up rates in Egypt?

16 drivers

1country: Egypt

  • Collaborative approach
  • Longitudinal study
  • Ethnographic interviews
  • Mobile ethnography
  • Service-design testing
  • Social analysis
  • User-experience
The Opportunity

Our work with the global tech company, Uber, focused on its ride-hailing service in Egypt. When Uber initially launched in Cairo, drivers were recruited through fleet partners. However, when a digital function was introduced to facilitate independent onboarding, the volume of driver applications and successful sign-ups dropped significantly in this region. Previous quant studies had failed to identify the reason. The opportunity was to understand the context of this local trend in order to resolve it with a solution that also maintained the integrity of the global strategy.

Our Approach

Our research recruited aspiring drivers who were considering fleet sign-up or independent sign-up and also included established, ‘veteran’ drivers in Cairo. In addition to conducting usability testing with would-be drivers, we orchestrated ethnographic interviews and mobile ethnography during a 28-day longitudinal study. This ran alongside an in-depth analysis of cultural and social motivators that contextualised the behaviour of individual participants. This up-close approach revealed the source of the issues that drivers in this region were facing.

Business Impact

This research discovered that most drivers in Cairo used their mobile phones set to English language mode, but the browser translation of content from the Egyptian Uber platform (Arabic to English) was unclear. Furthermore, it was common for multiple drivers to invest, together, in one shared vehicle. However, the registration process did not allow for this scenario. Once identified, both these issues could be overcome.

The insights and strategic recommendations gained from our research informed Uber’s local strategy in Egypt – and also presented development opportunities in comparative regions, such as Pakistan and Brazil. In addition, our study of Egyptian drivers discovered a new business-related driver group, increasing Uber’s potential scope in the region. Our design and delivery of an engaging web-based research portal is now used by multiple teams and stakeholders at Uber.