Despite the months-long fuss about working conditions at the Gorillas express delivery service, Germany has become one of the leading countries in so-called quick commerce in Europe. According to a study by the strategy consultancy Oliver Wyman, the services that deliver groceries ordered via an app within half an hour are here to stay. This is all the more remarkable as Germans are considered to be particularly price-sensitive when shopping for groceries, but the prices for delivery services are higher than in many supermarkets. But many customers either don’t care or are not aware of this.
According to the study, for which more than 2,000 Quick Commerce customers in the Netherlands, France and Germany were surveyed, users accepted the additional costs for the fast service “often without realizing it”. 60 percent of those surveyed considered the services to be comparable in price to brick-and-mortar retailers, and 17 percent even cheaper. A comparison showed, however, that a typical shopping cart from the provider Flink, for example, was five to 16 percent more expensive than in the supermarket – without a delivery fee. The smaller the purchase, the more important the delivery costs are. But here the respondents had shown a “high tolerance” and accepted the fees.
Despite the higher prices, half of those surveyed order at least regularly from the express delivery services, some even order their entire weekly purchase. Fruit, vegetables and dairy products are at the top of the ordered products. Spontaneous purchases are in the minority. There is no such thing as loyalty to a particular service. “This is mainly at the expense of supermarkets or discounters,” says Wyman partner Jens von Wedel.
Overall, the turnover of quick commerce is still less than one percent of the entire food market in Germany. None of the providers earns money with the offer across the board, but Flink is said to have announced black figures for the end of this year. To keep costs under control, services are increasing fees, charging service premiums, extending delivery times, and cooperating with competitors. Flink, in which Rewe has a stake, has teamed up with the Finnish provider Wolt, which was taken over by the US provider Doordash and also has a stake in Flink.
Wolt acts as a delivery service platform, the express delivery service takes care of delivery to the customer. A similar model is being established between Wolt competitor Lieferando and Flink rival Getir. Thanks to the platform model, drivers can go out for dinner in the evening and grocery shopping in the morning. This allows them to make more deliveries per hour, bringing the criticism of working conditions back to Gorillas, which Getir acquired in early December.