Blog Food delivery app boom continues following lockdown-driven growth

Food delivery app boom continues following lockdown-driven growth

For almost two years, many mobile app verticals saw a boost in engagement as more consumers than ever spent time with their devices during lockdowns. Food delivery was one of the fastest-growing verticals of 2020, providing consumers with safe, socially-distanced and convenient services. According to Forrester, the ability of food delivery apps to offer this convenience is the main reason the market has gained such momentum.

COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns caused many restaurants to limit capacity or close entirely, and millions of people ordered food online for the first time. This increased demand pushed the food and drink delivery resulted in performance years ahead of projections. The top four food delivery companies in the U.S. — DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and Postmates — brought in roughly $5.5 billion combined revenue from April to September 2020, more than twice as much as their combined $2.5 billion in revenue during the same period in 2019.

Despite relaxed restrictions and many restaurants slowly opening up for the dine-in experience, consumers have maintained the habit of placing orders through food delivery apps in 2021. In fact, the installs and sessions have continued to grow, and revenue is projected to reach new heights in markets globally. Business of Apps projects that the global market for delivery apps will increase to $120 billion by the end of 2021, reaching $300 billion by 2027. Even without a pandemic, food delivery app growth is not slowing down. Adjust's data also reflects this, showing a consistent upward trend in growth for food and drink delivery apps, with no signs of slowing down.

Food and drink delivery apps still on the rise

Global installs of food delivery apps increased by 25% in 2020 compared to 2019, and are up by a further 21% so far in 2021. Looking at APAC, installs were even more impressive, increasing by 37%, topped off by an additional 6% this year. In North America, the 2020 boost hit 30% and is up another 10% in 2021. Compared to other regions, EMEA saw the least growth in 2020 with a 12% increase, but the market is booming in 2021, up 37% this year so far.

Users have a taste for ordering in

While installs have been impressive, sessions have been even more remarkable. Global sessions of food delivery apps skyrocketed 88% in 2020 compared to 2019. And in 2021 so far, global sessions have jumped another 43%. Taking a look at the regions again, sessions in APAC exploded in 2020, growing 128% compared to 2019, and have steadily continued in 2021, posting a boost of 42% by the end of Q3. Similarly, sessions in North America jumped a whopping 122% in 2020 and have grown by a further 45% in 2021. While not quite as momentous as the others, sessions in EMEA also saw significant increases, at 41% and 42% in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

With sessions and installs growing, the average session length has also consistently increased in all regions. The global average session length in 2019 was 11.03 minutes, increasing significantly to reach 12.85 minutes in 2020 and has already climbed to 13.59 so far in 2021. APAC's average session length has grown the most, with 9.74 minutes in 2019, 12.05 in 2020, and 12.69 in 2021. EMEA also posted substantial boosts, with 9.93 in 2019, 10.45 in 2020, and 11.3 in 2021.

Future of food and drink delivery apps

The pandemic and life in lockdown led to an evolution in how we consume products and buy food. The need for safe, easily-accessible, and convenient services fit perfectly with the existing models offered by food delivery apps. By optimizing their services to meet the increasing demand, the industry has successfully propelled itself forward. By offering user-friendly experiences, food delivery apps have positioned themselves brilliantly — leaving users hungry for more.

The food delivery app vertical is set to continue growing and evolving as markets take shape in a post-pandemic world. To thrive, it’s essential that apps partner with the restaurants and vendors that best suit their user’s needs, and that they find clever ways to incentivize continued use in this more-competitive-than-ever space. Developing loyalty programs, offering coupons or digital stamp cards, or investing in gamification are just a few examples of methods that can be leveraged into successful user acquisition and retention strategies in the food delivery app vertical.

For insights on how to develop your food delivery app marketing strategy, you can take a look at our blog article here.

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