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Sector Report

Q1 2021: Can food delivery apps sustain their growth?

  • Multi Asset
  • Consumer
  • Europe

The online food delivery industry has been growing at speed and 2020 was a banner year for customer acquisition and order volumes as regular food delivery became an entrenched part of life. According to Business of Apps, the number of UK food delivery app users shot up from 19.9 million in 2019 to 24.8 million in 2020.* With restaurants and leisure activities off the cards during COVID-19 lockdowns, one of the few sources of comfort and enjoyment for many has been a takeaway. Indeed, delivery apps have been vital (and sometimes a lifeline) for businesses and consumers due to the unprecedented economic and social hardship caused by the pandemic and have been key to food delivery market growth.

In other signs of a busy year for the industry, Just Eat announced its acquisition of US-based Grubhub in June 2020 and, in a highly anticipated move, Deliveroo listed on the London Stock Exchange. Third Bridge Forum Interviews provided some food for thought on the industry’s outlook for 2021 as the nation emerges from what is hopefully its final lockdown. 

“The current market split [in London] is 55-60% is Just Eat, around 25-30% is Deliveroo and the rest is Uber Eats”, a former Deliveroo executive said. But this could change. We heard that Deliveroo has been winning customers from Just Eat as well as Uber Eats, with the latter at risk of losing the most market share because its value proposition has weakened since launching, according to the Interview. “There’s nothing additional that Uber Eats can offer to customers or restaurants, and now, they don’t even have exclusivity arrangements that they used to have with QSRs [quick-service restaurants], and so… going forward, I see probably a 55/35/10 split between these three companies. This is between Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats respectively.”

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