It should be no surprise that I love looking at data and analysing them. Recently, looking at digital retail category consumers spending, I was fascinated by the robust growth of some of the sectors, such as Food/Baby/Pets, during the course of the last 18 months. Observing changes in the habits of family and friends since the beginning of the lockdown, it became clear that online shopping activity related to the purchase of food, groceries and beverages increased significantly. And, this overall trend was also evident at the national level. The blue line in the graph below indicates how the general sector flourished in 2020 and continued its growth through Q1 this year.
Another study published recently examined UK food delivery mobile apps and their new and returning/existing users share during Spring 2020 and the early phase of the first lockdown. The most successful food delivery brand was Deliveroo, with new users accounting for more than 40% of the total users but other apps also performed strongly.
It is debatable if new consumer habits developed during the pandemic will fade away after a move back to more familiar ways of living; however, it’s very likely that now consumers have experienced the comfort of ordering online, they will continue to rely on the foodservice providers to not only feed them but also to deliver the service with minimum disruption.
While the general food industry has had a very successful period, during the pandemic the use of tech innovations increased markedly, with virtual tipping jars and mobile order-and-pay such as the options introduced by fast-food giants including McDonald’s, Subway, KFC, and Burger King. Innovations also resulted in some food retailers improving their service delivery, addressing the rise in demand for online shopping by partnering with other companies to offer new and more targeted grocery delivery services.
Further innovations were even more creative, with some brewers diversifying their production lines in order to address the growing demand for health and hygiene products. For example, Bavaria, the Dutch brewer, started collecting beer from clients that had to close down their outlets, and used it to produce hand sanitiser for healthcare institutions.