The concept of convenience is not new in any way. But it seems that enduring 18 months of lockdown really has started a juggernaut rolling when it comes to the convenience-based services that UK consumers now want and expect.
The humble takeaway has been reimagined since restaurants were forced, temporarily, to close. New outlets began offering the service, signing up to app-based delivery brands just as consumers began to get cabin fever.
The result? A 150% increase in spend on meal deliveries recorded by Kantar. And even if braver diners have returned to dining out, they are still only spending 75% of what they were in 2019. Kantar strategic insight director Lucy Chapman says that customers liked the experience of meal delivery and have given it a permanent home in their dining repertoire.
Meanwhile, a redistributed workforce means that many former office workers are now home workers, for at least part of the week. With Pret, Leon and Costa no longer around the corner this has kick-started a rise in meal deliveries for breakfast and lunch – the fastest-growing categories for food delivery.
Meanwhile buying groceries from a shop is, for some consumers, now tragically 20th century. According to mobile marketing platform InMobi, a quarter of the customers who use instant delivery apps, such as Getir, GoPuff and Gorillas, are replacing their weekly shop with instant deliveries. More than a third say the apps will replace visits to the corner shop. A breathless period of expansion and consolidation is underway as rival groups jockey for position.
If it’s worth buying it is worth buying quickly, or such is the theory that seems to be evolving. For those consumers addicted to convenience, even cooking at home is a chore unless the recipes and ingredients are delivered measured and chopped with a recipe card. Brands such as Gousto are also growing apace to give consumers ever more control of what to do with their time.
Away from food, technology retailer Currys has teamed up with Uber to bring new laptops and replacement printer cartridges to your door in less than half an hour.
How will the market expand in 2022? Rapidly, to make the obvious joke. The juggernaut is still near the top of a steep hill, pointing downwards.