Grab, an on-demand superapp available in Southeast Asia, is sharpening its focus on "Quick Commerce" by ramping up efforts to attract small-sized merchants to its GrabMart platform to drive growth in this high-potential segment.
Meanwhile, HappyFresh, an Indonesia-based online grocery delivery platform, yesterday announced its closure in Thailand, citing the woeful economic situation.
At the same time, Foodpanda, Grab's key food delivery rival, has admitted to laying off staff in a bid to cut costs and stay competitive, including those employed in Thailand.
Chantsuda Thananitayaudom, country marketing and partnership head of Grab Thailand, said Grab is committed to serving as a platform used daily among millions of customers in Thailand to provide them with convenience and engagement.
"The greater frequency of usage also gives a boost to the income of driver partners and merchants," she said.
Thais eat about seven times a day but only make 2-3 online grocery orders a month so there is still much more room to grow, she said.
In Southeast Asia, online grocery remains underpenetrated with only a 2% share, in comparison with 98% for offline.
In the non-grocery segment, online purchases account for 25% with offline purchases standing at 75%.
In the region, the total value of the e-commerce market is expected to reach US$234 billion in gross merchandise value in 2025, up from $120 billion in 2021.
Online grocery is part of Quick Commerce, which ensures the delivery of essential daily use products within 25 minutes.
Launched in the second quarter of 2020, GrabMart now has 15 product categories and 15,000 merchants in 68 cities nationwide. Via the platform, spending via hypermarts stands at about 600-700 baht per visit while at small shops it is in the hundreds of baht, she said.
Ms Chantsuda said GrabMart has an equal share of hypermarts and small merchants.
The platform aims to increase the proportion of small merchants to 60% and drive usage upcountry, she said.
She said GrabMart is gearing up to elevate its user base by ensuring affordability in services, supporting broad categories of products and enhancing the user experience.
"We see a bit of a slowdown in food delivery and GrabMart services after people returned to their workplaces," said Ms Chantsuda.
Worachat Luxkanalode, executive director at Grab Thailand, said the firm is looking for profitability after operating for 10 years in the country.
The firm will now focus on transportation, food delivery and finance services and find ways to cut costs through technology-driven operation optimisation without any plans for downsizing, he said.
HappyFresh stated through its Facebook Page yesterday it needs to shut its operation in Thailand, effective immediately, citing economic woes as the reason.
The platform has operated in Asean with more than 850 employees. It has run a business in Thailand for seven years.
Early this month, the online tech news outlet DealStreetAsia reported that Foodpanda cut its staff in Southeast Asia, including Thailand.
When asked to comment on this issue by the Bangkok Post, Foodpanda responded in a statement that there is a "critical" need to reduce costs and move to profitability in order to remain competitive.
"We have made the painful decision to downsize some teams," the statement read. "We are supporting impacted employees to help them through this transition, through employee assistance programmes and extended insurance and benefits."