Uber and Starbucks are the top vendors business travelers in North America are expensing these days, according to a new study by Certify, which tracks business expenses.
In its analysis of more than 10 million receipts and expenses from the third quarter of this year, Certify also found Amazon was the third-most-utilized vendor.
It’s the first quarter in which Amazon appeared among the top three most-expensed vendors, reflecting the breadth of its products and services, which include business supplies and grocery delivery.
“People are buying more (from Amazon) than just Post-it notes and basic office supplies,” says Robert Neveu, CEO of Certify, an online travel and expense management system. “It’s clear that they’ve broken into the business marketplace, and they’re having a lot of success in bringing convenience to customers.”
According to Certify’s SpendSmart report, Uber took 11 percent of total transactions. Starbucks was second with 4.09 percent of receipts and expenses, and Amazon followed with 4.05 percent. Also in the top 10: Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Walmart, Shell and McDonald’s.
Delta was the most-expensed airline, followed by American. JetBlue Airways was the highest-rated carrier with an average of 4.6 stars, followed by Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines, which both received 4.5 stars.
Ride-hailing services continued to dominate over taxi cabs. Uber competitor Lyft made the top 10 expensed vendors for the first time, landing in sixth place with about 3 percent of total receipts.
“The overall convenience, quality of service and cost of Uber and Lyft are eroding into the taxi market,” Neveu says. The use of taxis has been decreasing steadily since the second quarter of 2015. This quarter, taxis accounted for 7 percent of all receipts, up slightly from last quarter.
National Car Rental was the most-used rental car company, taking 26 percent of all receipts with an average cost of $191.82. It was followed by Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Hertz.
Hampton Inn was the most-expensed hotel, taking 9 percent of all receipts at an average cost of $258.80. Marriott trailed with 8 percent of receipts and an average cost of $291.69. The top-rated hotel was Embassy Suites, earning 4.5 stars. Hyatt, Marriott and Westin Hotels were not far behind with 4.4 stars.
Starbucks continued to dominate as the leading vendor for meals, with 5 percent of all receipts and an average meal cost of $12.67. McDonald’s and Panera Bread rounded out the top three. Chick-Fil-A again was the highest-rated vendor, receiving 4.6 stars.
“Starbucks is just accelerating,” Neveu says. “People are opting for more than coffee. They’re getting meals, they’re getting sandwiches.”
The fast-growing food delivery market saw Uber Eats’ popularity jump 300 percent since the third quarter of last year. This time, Uber Eats took 26 percent of all receipts in this category. But Grubhub continued to dominate with 36 percent of all receipts.