Home / SmartTech / The online meal delivery market is suffering from the coronavirus crisis

The online meal delivery market is suffering from the coronavirus crisis

( Reuters ) – Blocking millions of people around the world due to the corona virus should have been the perfect recipe for success for the burgeoning online meal delivery market.

But some of them The biggest players in the world, including Uber Eats and Just Eat, bought from Takeaway.com were hit by a double blow: restaurant suppliers were instructed to close, and with more time at home to shop for cooking themselves, some people appear

While many restaurants have switched to take away, some of the world's largest grocery chains that use apps, such as McDonald’s and Wagamama, have closed in the UK for the time being.

SimilarWeb data, which tracks the download and use of smartphone apps and websites in major European markets, shows the extent of the slowdown across Europe as a pandem. Just Eat and Uber Eats recorded in March in France, Spain and the United Kingdom a decrease in average daily users between 2% and 23% compared to the US averages for January and February. Deliveroo also saw declines in France and Spain, although there was a small increase in the United Kingdom.

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The falls reflect a sharp drop in repeat customers. According to SimilarWeb, around 90% of the activities on apps are re-orders.

The data are in stark contrast to the double-digit percentage increase in the volume of food deliveries in the same period in which people had to quickly stock up on the block.

The numbers give an insight into how the virus has quickly changed people's ordering and cooking habits and slowed down a rapidly growing industry.

Before the virus, European industry had sales of around $ 16.5 billion, according to Statistica, growth should grow 10% annually over the next ten years.

Just Eat and Deliveroo declined to comment on the data. A Uber spokesman said the effects of the virus were very different across Europe, but there was a huge increase in restaurants and shops that signed up for its app.

Asia and America

In other parts of the world the picture is less clear.

Takeaway.com has seen the first signs of reviving demand in Asia for a slowdown in the early stages of closures.

"Asia first entered the blockage, and signs of recovery will take place there first," said a spokesman.

Chinese food delivery service Meituan Dianping gave a first glimpse of the effects in China, the original one, last week Epicenter of the first lockout breakout, it expected a loss in the first quarter last week after a drop in orders.

In the United States, Grubhub said that demand for takeaways in some parts of the country seemed to be recovering, but it was a different picture in places like New York, where a busy restaurant scene closed the hatches as restrictions occur.

"New York is not doing well because the residents have fled, the restaurants are closed and the people are afraid." Matt Maloney, CEO of Grubhub, said in an interview.

"People feel worst in Seattle. They also feel a bit safer, ”he said. "Everyone else is a mixed bag between these two."


Uber Eats, Grubhub, Delivery Hero and Just Eat Takeaway – whose merger is pending approval by the UK authorities – have offered incentives to restaurants, including cut-off commissions or delivery fees and faster sign-up for new members to increase their cash flow improve and help them in the crisis.

This should increase their own membership in the long run as orders improve. Grubhub opened more than 20,000 new restaurants in March, far exceeding its previous monthly record of 5,000, Maloney said. According to a spokesman, Deliveroo brought 3,000 new British restaurants on board last month.

The loss of business has prompted some to enter new markets. Delivery Hero is expanding in the delivery of groceries to customers who are stuck at home, and Uber Eats has expanded its range of groceries by working with supermarkets like Carrefour.

Uber Eat's food and convenience store sales have more than doubled in some European cities, said Uber spokesman

Delivery Hero offers its food service for free and tries to pay for it by selling high-margin consumer goods CEO Niklas Ostberg told Reuters.

He said he also offers a personal shopper service in Saudi Arabia to Arabia and some Latin American countries where a delivery agent is shopping for a customer.

Analysts at Deutsche Bank believe that such steps can only partially offset the decline in take-away orders that they expect will impact commission fees for 2020 and growth in the first year half.

" Although the COVID-19 outbreak could intuitively be considered beneficial for online gamblers with millions of people banned, we conclude that this is not the case, ”they said in a research note this week.

They lowered their forecast for core earnings 2020 (EBITDA) for Just Eat Takeaway by over 40% and their sales estimate by 10%, while they reduced the EBITDA and EBITDA sales forecasts for Delivery Hero by 17% and 9%, respectively.

The concern is that even if restrictions diminish and restaurants reopen, business may not pick up as quickly as hoped. Tightening the belt due to job losses can also affect household purchasing power. Some restaurants will not survive.

In Grubhub's hardest hit markets, restaurant closures have reached up to 30%, mainly affecting independent outlets that don't have cash, said Maloney, CEO of the company.

"It is difficult to imagine that they will reopen without a government-funded incentive," he said.

( Additional reporting by Emma Thomasson in BERLIN and Paul Sandle in LONDON; writing by Jospehine Mason; editing by Keith Weir and Mark Potter )

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