In a sign that Indians are now no more afraid of ordering food despite a surge in caseloads, Zomato on Wednesday revealed that the food delivery sector has recovered to (and even grown beyond) pre-COVID levels in a number of large pockets of the country, led by some of the most affluent residential areas in the country.
With the ongoing IPL season and the subsequent festival season, Zomato expects food delivery in both metros and smaller cities to make a full recovery soon and resume growing over pre-COVID levels.
Delhi and Mumbai are nearing full recovery (95 percent of pre-COVID), metros such as Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Chennai are still behind the curve (nearly 80 percent of pre-COVID).
“Some cities such as Kolkata, Patna, Jamshedpur, Ranchi, and Siliguri have recovered completely and have exceeded pre-COVID levels,” Deepinder Goyal, CEO, Zomato said in a statement.
In Delhi-NCR, affluent residential areas like DLF Phase 1 and 5 have recovered to 1.5 times of pre-COVID levels.
In South Delhi, average order value rose by 65 percent between February and September 2020. Food delivery business in South Delhi is back to 110 percent of pre-COVID levels.
Connaught Place bounced back to pre-COVID levels and some micro-localities within Central Delhi are at two times of pre-COVID levels, said Zomato.
The food delivery industry continues to grow back steadily to pre-COVID levels, with the overall sector clocking over 85 percent of pre-COVID GMV (Gross Merchandise Value), up from nearly 75 percent last month.
“With more premium restaurants, — restaurants where a meal for two may cost Rs 1,500 and above, now opening up to online delivery — a larger number of affluent consumers are embracing online ordering,” the company informed.
Overall spends on such premium restaurants have grown by over 25 percent over pre-COVID levels.
“Customers are now relying on food delivery even more than usual when a city goes under a lockdown. Some cities such as Kolkata see more customers ordering online when the city is (more or less) shut, but restaurants are open,” Goyal stressed.
With lockdown restrictions, celebrations have moved back home and customers, who had not ordered since the first day of lockdown, are 20 percent more likely to order for the first time during such festivals and occasions.
As customers spend more time with their families, group ordering has become more relevant than ever, Zomato said.
“Order sizes, i.e. items per order, have increased by 20 percent over pre-COVID levels. Recovery on single person meals, which constituted nearly 60 percent of all orders pre-COVID, lingers at 50-70 percent level for most regions,” Goyal said.
On the other hand, orders with meals for three or more persons have recovered well and are higher than even pre-COVID levels currently, the company informed.