Airbnb and DoorDash went public the same week in early December and were both met with strong demand from investors. But in their first earnings reports as publicly traded companies on Thursday, the two sharing economy businesses signaled very different possible paths forward after the pandemic ends.
In a letter to investors, Airbnb said it is “preparing for the travel rebound” in 2021 after seeing bookings through its platform drop 41% in 2020 as people largely stayed home due to the pandemic.
“As the vaccine is rolled out and restrictions lift, we expect there will be a significant travel rebound,” the company wrote in the letter.
DoorDash, by contrast, has benefited greatly from people ordering food and essential items while staying at home, with revenue of $2.89 billion last year, more than tripling from the year prior. “While the Covid-19 pandemic was a tailwind for all online commerce in 2020, we are proud of the outsized gains we made relative to category peers,” the company said in its letter to investors.
But there’s some cause for concern ahead. While the company said it hopes “markets will begin to open up soon,” it also hinted at a resulting negative impact on its business. DoorDash said that this return to normal could result in “declines in consumer engagement and average order values, though the precise amount remains unclear.”
While shares of Airbnb were essentially flat in after-hours trading Thursday following the earnings report, DoorDash stock fell more than 11%. Both companies remain well above their IPO prices.
For now, both companies continue to face challenges.
Despite strong revenue growth in the fourth quarter, DoorDash’s losses grew, too. It lost $312 million in the quarter, compared to $134 million during the same period a year earlier. The company had turned its first profit – $23 million – in the second quarter of 2020, before reporting losses again in the third quarter.
Airbnb, meanwhile, posted a staggering loss of $3.9 billion in the fourth quarter, with $2.8 billion of that related to stock-based compensation. The company said it lost $4.6 billion in 2020.
In its earnings report, Airbnb focused on the fact that its revenue for the fourth quarter was down “only 22% year-over-year, demonstrating Airbnb’s resilience.” It brought in revenue of $859 million in the fourth quarter, despite surges in coronavirus cases.