Online deliveries skyrocket, competition heats up

Online deliveries skyrocket, competition heats up

Online food delivery drivers have seen increased food delivery orders amid the surge in Covid-19 cases across the country. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
Online food delivery drivers have seen increased food delivery orders amid the surge in Covid-19 cases across the country. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

Online food delivery has seen at least a 30-40% surge in orders following the fresh pandemic wave compared with the normal period, particularly from strictly controlled provinces, according to the segment's players.

Meanwhile, industry newcomer Robinhood, brainchild of Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), is seen to be weighing on the market, currently dominated by foreign players, as the platform has no gross profit (GP) or commission fee applied for food vendors, an industry source said.

Chantsuda Thananitayaudom, country marketing head of Grab Thailand, said the food delivery service orders rose over 40% from Dec 31-Jan 3, driven by government policies and cooperation in social distancing and disease control measures to stem the fresh pandemic wave, forcing people to stay at home more.

From January to December 2020, Ms Chantsuda said the number of monthly active users and orders surged 2 times. That of food merchants rose 4 times.

According to her, online food delivery will continue to grow this year in terms of users and merchants while the competition will remain energetic.

Yod Chinsupakul, Line Man Wongnai's chief executive, said the platform saw orders rise 3 times from Dec 21 -- before the government designated the outbreak zone -- to Jan 3, mainly in Samut Sakhon, Rayong, Ang Thong and Samut Songkhram.

Samut Sakhon and Rayong are now the provinces with the high infections.

He recommended users place orders before 11am and between 2pm and 4pm to avoid a long waiting time. Line Man, which has seen 13 million downloads, handles 3 million active users per month and 250,000 restaurants.

Pinya Nittayakasetwat, country general manager of Gojek Thailand, said the company has seen an uptick in demand in food delivery and courier services over the past few weeks, when the new surge of infections was reported. "We see around 10-12% increase in user spending per order," he said.

Thana Thienachariya, chairman of the board of directors at Purple Ventures, operator of Robinhood, told the Bangkok Post it has come up with a campaign to bring vendors from affected fresh markets to sell their items on the platform. Purple Ventures is SCB's tech startup.

"We plan to bring vendors from at least two fresh markets into our platform," he said.

The Department of Internal Trade has told online food delivery platforms to assist local vendors at fresh markets.

"We will assign SCB branches to assist local merchants who may not know how to upload their food pictures onto the platform," he said. It takes two days to verify a vendor who signs up for the platform.

According to him, food orders through Robinhood surged 30% before and after New Year break, driven by the fresh outbreak.

Robinhood will continue its zero GP policy and add loan offerings to small merchants in the future, Mr Thana said.

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