New Study:  How Consumers and Businesses Used and Benefited from App-Based Rideshare and Delivery Services in Massachusetts in 2023

App-based rideshare and delivery services explode in popularity, increasingly critical to local communities and small businesses according to new study 

Rideshare use doubles in two years, deliveries up 42% with local businesses earning more than $2 billion in revenue from delivery apps 

BOSTON, MA – May 14, 2024A new study conducted by BW Research Partnership found that app-based rideshare and delivery services have become even more critical pillars of the Massachusetts economy and transportation system since 2021. Rideshare use doubled in two years, from 39.4 million trips in 2021 to 79.8 million in 2023, while deliveries increased from 45.5 million in 2021 to 64.5 million in 2023. More than 27,000 merchant accounts (defined as a restaurant, store, or other merchant location that consumers can access via one of these platforms) accounted for $2.1 billion in revenue for Massachusetts businesses last year, a 44% increase in just two years.  

“This data showcases that rideshare and delivery services in their current form have become critical components of daily life in Massachusetts,” said Philip Jordan, Vice President and Principal Researcher at BW Research. “Residents across the state are using rideshare to get to medical appointments or college classes. They are increasingly having dinner delivered from local restaurants, or groceries brought to their doorstep from the supermarket. Even compared to just a few years ago, the rate of growth and corresponding impact on communities has been extraordinary.”

As Massachusetts residents and businesses are increasingly turning to rideshare and delivery services, the flexibility that drivers, consumers, and small businesses depend on currently hangs in the balance. Some state officials and special interests are attempting to force drivers to become employees against their will, threatening their independence and the future of the app-based rideshare and delivery industry.  

“As a restaurant owner and small business leader, I can attest that drivers are indispensable to our industry,” said Johnny Piccolo, owner of Piccolo’s Restaurant and president of the Shrewsbury Street Merchants Association. “Rideshare drivers are increasingly instrumental in improving public safety, transporting patrons home safely after a meal or evening out, and our businesses also rely on revenue from delivery services. The flexibility and independence drivers need is critical and must be protected to ensure the success of our industry.”  

The BW Research Partnership study, commissioned by Flexibility & Benefits for Massachusetts Drivers (FAB), draws from 2023 data provided by DoorDash, Instacart, Lyft, and Uber (including Uber Eats) to determine the volume and distribution of app-based rideshare and delivery activity throughout Massachusetts. Researchers compared that data with information from a previous report compiled in 2021, which also saw significant growth in total trips over the two years that report examined.  

Over the last four years, drivers have been seeking a solution to secure the flexibility they have enjoyed as independent contractors while gaining new benefits. A ballot question proposed by FAB aims to provide that solution and is supported by 85% of drivers statewide, according to a recent survey.  

“My independence is critical for my customers,” said Lisa McRobbie, who makes deliveries using the Instacart platform. “I deliver from Central Massachusetts to the New York border, and to a lot of people who are either elderly or disabled. My customers are so grateful for this service, which they never had before and have come to rely on.”  

In all, rideshare and delivery drivers completed 144.3 million trips in 2023, with Massachusetts residents, businesses, and visitors using these services more than 395,000 times a day, on average, according to the BW Research Study.   

Other findings from the study include: 

Delivery 

  • French fries, cheeseburgers, and chicken nuggets topped the list of restaurant food items most commonly ordered via the DoorDash or Uber Eats delivery platforms in Massachusetts during 2023.  
  • Other popular restaurant order items included hash browns, burritos, and coffee.  
  • Massachusetts residents used delivery apps to order meals from restaurants offering many kinds of food and diverse cuisines.  
  • Residents ordered from restaurants specializing in Vietnamese or Brazilian fare around 225,000 times each in 2023, for example.  
  • Caribbean restaurants received approximately 150,000 orders and Greek restaurants about 450,000 orders. 
  • Milk, bananas, and crackers were the three most commonly ordered grocery items via Instacart in Massachusetts for 2023.  
  • Other popular grocery items included eggs, ice cream and strawberries.  
  • While the majority (73.7%) of merchant accounts on the DoorDash, Instacart, and/or Uber Eats delivery platforms in the state were located in Greater Boston, the NECTAs of Greater Worcester, Greater Springfield, the Fall River and Attleboro area, the New Bedford area, and the Cape and Islands area each had at least 500 and as many as 1,900 merchant accounts on the platforms.  

Rideshare 

  • The most popular destinations for rideshare rides in Greater Boston were Logan Airport, South Station, TD Garden, Encore Boston Harbor casino, and Massachusetts General Hospital, according to data analyzed for the prior edition of this report (reflecting activity in 2021). 
  • Top destinations in other NECTAs around the state were commonly: 
  • Transportation hubs, such as the airport and ferry terminals in Hyannis;  
  • Large retail establishments, like Holyoke Mall in Holyoke or Walmart in Lunenburg;  
  • Educational institutions such as College of the Holy Cross and Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester;  
  • Health care facilities; and  
  • Various hospitality establishments.  

The complete study can be found at yesformassdrivers.org/. 

FAB is an enthusiastic and growing group of voters, community leaders, and small business owners who stand with the tens of thousands of app-based rideshare and delivery drivers fighting for their flexibility and independence. Learn more at yesformassdrivers.org/

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Paid for by Flexibility and Benefits for Massachusetts Drivers 2024. Top contributors: Doordash, Inc., Lyft, Inc., Maplebear Inc. D/B/A Instacart, and Uber Technologies, Inc. For more information regarding contributors, go to www.ocpf.us   

Contact   

Julianne Hester

857-319-8595