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American takeaway platform big fight
2019-04-17 17:48
The domestic take-away market is the two big ones of the US group and the hungry. In contrast, the US's take-away distribution market competition is much more "popular": the already-listed GrubHub Inc, the upcoming IPO Postmates and Uber's UberEats, And DoorDash, which just got $500 million in financing.
Due to different geographical factors, population distribution, eating habits, labor costs, etc., the US take-away market is still in a state of development and rapid growth compared to the mature and full domestic market. There have been many problems in the middle.
 

 
"Faucet" Grubhub, "Dark Horse" DoorDash

According to research firm Statista, the US online food distribution market is likely to grow from nearly $17 billion in 2018 to more than $24 billion in 2023.

In the past, take-away delivery was basically equal to pizza and Chinese meals, but Acosta/Technomic's survey of 1,500 American diners at the end of 2017 found that they preferred hamburgers, chicken wings, Mexican food, barbecues and desserts. At the same time, 77% of millennials ordered at least one take-out in the first three months of the survey, which is much higher than 51% of the overall survey; 44% of millennials use third-party take-out platforms, and This proportion accounts for only about 20% of the overall survey.

At present, Grubhub is still the leader in the US takeaway market. Its advantage lies in the early entry into the takeaway market. According to Edison Trends, Grubhub has a 34.4% share in the US (UberEats is 27.9%, DoorDash is 17.9%, Postmates is 11.8%).

However, as more users use multiple take-away applications at the same time, the brand awareness of the new platform is also increasing. Although Grubhub is still the most popular takeaway platform for US users (with Seamless and Eat24), its lead has narrowed. According to Raymond James, 50% of respondents used Grubhub in 2016, but by January 2019 it had shrunk to 43%; UberEats increased from 13% to 40%.

SoftBank's investment in DoorDash is also a "black horse" worthy of attention. At the time of Uber and Postmates preparing for an IPO, DoorDash received $500 million in financing at the beginning of the year, with a valuation between $6 billion and $7 billion. According to Second Measure's credit card transaction data, DoorDash's take-away sales in the US exceeded UberEats in November last year, mainly because it concentrated more on the city's mid- to high-end restaurants and helped to obtain higher-priced orders.

Overall, DoorDash's strength lies in offering more choices, and its number of restaurants is now higher than UberEats and Grubhub; Grubhub can leverage its partnership with Yum! (KFC and Taco Bell's parent company) and the most extensive in the US Coverage; UberEats wins cooperation with Starbucks and McDonald's.
 

 
Grubhub stock price trend, quotes source: English for the wealth of Investing.com

Seize the sinking market: Grubhub still still dominates

Against the background that the market in big cities has basically been seized, the competition of several large foreign giants in the United States is now shifting from large cities to more remote and relatively indifferent areas.

On the one hand, in these suburbs, small cities and towns, pizza and Chinese food are still the only take-away options; second, labor, advertising and materials are cheaper than in big cities, so operating costs are lower in the long run. . DoorDash COO Christopher Payne said that the smaller market will be the source of growth in the US takeaway market in the next few years.

However, in the process of sinking, they also found many obstacles, including how to find more take-away delivery personnel in the case of tight labor, and how to change the habits of residents in suburbs and small towns to buy food and groceries. -- According to Cowen's research, in cities with less than 200,000 people in the United States, the number of people using restaurant takeaway services is usually only half that of large cities. This means that the takeaway platform needs to build the widest possible network and include more dining options.

In this regard, Grubhub may be able to sink faster. It started out as a platform for businesses and users, and was distributed by merchants. Grubhub draws commissions from platform transactions.

Although Grubhub also launched a push-to-delivery service, it still adopts this old model in small and medium-sized cities. Compared to DoorDash, Postmates, etc., which hires distributors, Grubhub saves a lot of money for recruiting staff, and it is easier to promote. 

UberEats tries to use drones, Postmates seeks to complete the distribution through robots, and may also help them to promote to small and medium-sized cities. But these innovative ways are still in the state of exploration.

Finally, like the Hungry and Meituan groups, these giants are also attracting and retaining users by offering a large number of concessions and subsidies. But in the long run this is not a sustainable way.

To this end, some takeaway platforms have begun to introduce monthly subscription services like Amazon Prime. Can this model succeed in the United States? We still need time to verify. What is certain now is that the battle for these foreign giants is still at an early stage.

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