COVID-19 and Digital Resilience: Evidence from Uber Eats

by   Manav Raj, et al.

We analyze how digital platforms can increase the survival rate of 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 independent, 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 will play in creating business resilience in the post-COVID economy, and provide new managerial insight into how supply-side and demand-side factors shape business performance on a platform.


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