Dubai: As expected, more UAE consumers are ordering in their dinners and shopping online for quick delivery of grocery needs as they get busy with the World Cup matches in Doha through the evenings. The average value on food delivery orders have also risen since November 20, which was the first day of the World Cup, according to F&B industry sources.
Volumes could have been even better had not Zomato UAE decided to cease food delivery operations starting November 24, they add. While Zomato UAE users automatically get directed to Talabat, it would still need some adjusting on their part, according to market feedback. (Zomato UAE had a particularly committed following among Indian and other South Asian residents.)
Cloud kitchen operators in Dubai too have recorded brisk demand increases, as TV dinners become the flavour of the period until December 18, when the final whistle will blow at the World Cup.
But the real action for the UAE delivery business would only start from the knockout stage and all the way up to the final on December 18. “We have beefed up staffing of our in-house riders to address the demand as a lot of orders are getting placed directly,” said Sanjay Vazirani, CEO of Foodlink Global Restaurants & Catering Services. “Many a time, (food order and delivery) aggregators are not able to manage riders for orders coming.
We feel UAE consumers are still warming up to FIFA and anticipate the response will get even better. We have high hopes from the days hosting matches of the most popular teams.
Grocery and Q(uick)-commerce deliveries could grow into being one of the main verticals within the local online shopping space. Already this year, delivery platforms have expanded their physical Q-commerce format stores in prime Dubai neighbourhoods, for delivery within 30 minutes or so.
In-dining is still doing fine
Ahead of November 20’s opening match, restaurant operators in the UAE had been concerned that in-dining demand could tail off significantly, because patrons would more likely be spending time at home or fan zones where they can be glued to the action unfolding on the TV screens. And not be bothered about what to order.
But so far, in-dining services are rated as solid, though some operators did admit that last Sunday was kind of slow. This weekend promises to be a better one, and next week with the extended holidays – from the UAE National Day – restaurants expect some heavy action. (As long as they can offer TV screens beaming the matches, some add.)
“We are running World Cup meal platters for delivery with aggregators,” said the head of one of the biggest F&B franchises in the UAE. “While the specific platters are not doing as well as we expected, the overall delivery transactions have gone up by about 10 per cent. This could be the World Cup effect.”
The real impact on deliveries will be when the Round of 16 starts in Doha, and people in the UAE would be more engaged with the game and host more get-togethers. Currently, we are dealing with Zomato app issues. On the contrary, orders through noon are picking up and we are hopeful the delivery business will be well aligned when the Round of 16 begins
Online shopping is the other big winner this season, with a sizeable number of shoppers here being booked for football viewing through the evening. Early feedback from the Black Friday promotions confirm brisk demand for clothing and accessory related promotions. (Travel experiences are the other big spending trend UAE consumers are into, and which should become visible through the National Day break and the period after December 15.)
"We’ve noticed people are very active on noon Minutes in the morning and evening at the moment," said Waleed Alireza, Vice-President for noon's Q-commerce service. "Our tie-up with adidas means customers can get football merchandise, including top team jerseys, delivered to wherever they are within 15 minutes".
We have signed jerseys from football stars who are playing in the World Cup to add to the fun. (And) customers who shop on noon Minutes and enter code WC22 at checkout will be entered to win.
Within online shopping, ‘Q-commerce’ is in a race to be one of the fastest growing verticals as more players offer these services. Q-commerce relates to online orders getting delivered by 30 minutes or thereabouts.
“The UAE food delivery business has evolved from just ordering food to grocery, daily/weekly shopping essentials and more categories," said a Q-commerce service provider. "Quick delivery services have seen sizeable growth this year, and the World Cup evenings are only speeding that up."
And there's still a whole lot of ordering and delivering to do ahead of the final...