COVID-19 and Digital Resilience: Evidence from Uber Eats
29 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2020 Last revised: 10 May 2021
Date Written: March 22, 2021
We analyze how digital platforms can be a source of resilience for firms during a crisis by providing continuity in access to customers. Using order-level data from Uber Technologies, we study how the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing shutdown of businesses in the United States affected small business restaurant supply and demand on the Uber Eats platform. We find evidence that small restaurants experience significant increases in total activity, orders per day, and orders per hour following the closure of the dine-in channel and that these increases may be due to both demand-side and supply-side shocks. We document an increase in the intensity of competitive effects following the shock, showing that growth in the number of providers on a platform induces both market expansion and heightened inter-provider competition. Our findings underscore the critical role that digital technologies play in enabling business resilience in the economy and provide insight into how supply-side and demand-side factors shape business performance on a platform.
Keywords: COVID, coronavirus, platform, sharing economy, crisis, Uber, competition, disruption
JEL Classification: L1, L83, L86, D43, O38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation