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New platforms: food and grocery delivery apps

The pandemic triggered a huge rise in food and delivery apps globally with 150m downloads a month in 2020. This created new global platforms for the restaurant, food and grocery industries. UberEats, Foodpanda, iFood, Zomato, Doordash, Getir and Deliveroo are all becoming global brands. Ethical and food waste apps also surged, with companies like Too Good to Go and OLIO among the leaders.

App marketing company App Radar has carried out an in depth analysis of delivery download trends on Google Play Store, revealing the scale of the shift to takeaway, grocery and meal kit delivery apps during the Pandemic.

Key findings:

  • UberEats leads the global battle, with 44 million new downloads, followed by foodpanda (31.8 million), iFood (20.8 million) and Zomato (19.2 million). Doordash added 13.9 million and Deliveroo 7 million downloads.

  • Outside of Deliveroo and UberEats, other top performing apps in Europe included JustEat in the UK (2.2 million downloads), Lieferando in Germany (2.1 million) and McDonalds in France (1.7 million)

  • Gorillas heads the new wave of grocery startups with 165k downloads globally since launch

  • Ethical and food waste apps have also surged, with companies Too Good to Go (7 million) and OLIO (1.4 million) added millions of users globally.

550,826,378 new downloads globally for food and drink apps between the beginning of March 2020 and the beginning of April 2021, a 33% year on year increase.

The total number of consumers now using delivery apps, food and other products is undoubtedly much higher when iOS and web users are accounted for.

In the UK, traditional grocery chains such as Tesco (1.2 million), Sainsburys (497k), Morrisons (765k) and ASDA (964k) added significant numbers of users, as customers switched to online shopping. Fast food and takeaway companies such as McDonalds (1.7 million) grew their UK users rapidly with Burger King (263,000) also performing well. In Germany, supermarket chain Edeka’s Bringmeister delivery app added 29K users from March 2020 – March 2021, an almost 30% increase.

The nascent speedy grocery delivery sector has also seen a rapid increase in recent months. German startup Gorilla’s has secured 112K global downloads since launch, while Flink (37K), Fancy (12.5K) and Zapp (11K) have also added users quickly in their markets. UK-based Beelivery which has been in the market since 2015 saw almost 110K downloads from March 2020 to March 2021 (64% of its total user base).

Meal kit companies HelloFresh (2 million global users) and UK rival Gousto (134K) also experienced huge growth, for Gousto that was a nearly 100% uplift on users since the pandemic. Some of the largest increases have been for ethical food delivery companies. Too Good to Go surged by 7.8 million new users and Olio by 1.4 million.

Thomas Kriebernegg, CEO and co-founder of App Radar, said:

“When you look at the download numbers on a global scale it really is quite staggering. Nearly every country has simultaneously seen a seismic shift in how food and groceries are chosen, ordered and delivered.

“As you would expect the likes of UberEats, Doordash and Deliveroo all performed well due to restaurants closing. However, what is more interesting is the balkanisation of the grocery delivery sector as well as the emergence of ethical food companies as an alternative to the big players.

“Within the grocery market there’s a mix of established brands both growing their already significant online delivery base, launching their own ‘fast delivery’ services, and brand new startups seeking to compete on a local basis. How these different segments perform as we return to pre-2020 conditions will give us a good indication of whether consumer behaviour has changed permanently – which could spell the end for large bricks and mortar supermarkets – or if it’s a flash in the pan.”


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