WHILE the restaurant industry has had to adapt and innovate to stay afloat, online grocery platforms have benefited tremendously from the uncertainties of the times and consequently have emerged as legitimate – and very popular – alternatives to traditional grocery shopping at a time when people have been urged to stay at home to stay safe.
In fact, a report by consultancy firm Bain & Company indicates that online grocery shopping in South-East Asia grew nearly three times at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak and forecasts show that shoppers in the region will continue buying groceries online even after the pandemic ends.
Local online grocery platform MyGroser for example, has seen demand for online grocery grow by over 1,000% during the first part of the year. MyGroser’s CEO Stephen Francis says that even though that initial pandemic-driven flush of success has waned a little, their business volume has grown 10 times over.
“If you look at global trends – online grocery platforms have been around for five to eight years, South-East Asia was the last one starting to adopt it. And in this part of the world, markets like Malaysia were just starting, but with the MCO, that gave it a push, so people naturally got an inclination to go online. So even though we are in the RMCO phase now, we have been able to retain a large percentage of the customers who shopped with us during the first phase of the MCO, ” he says.
Francis also adds that although the people who first shopped on online grocery platforms initially used it to stock up on comfort food like ice-cream, it has since become a reliable source of fresh vegetables, fruits, seafood and meat.
“Some people have gone back to work and hate the hassle of going grocery shopping – getting their temperature taken, keying in their personal details as well as the return of dreaded traffic jams.
“So they now trust online grocery platforms for their fresh produce. The growth is definitely in that segment, ” he says.