Food and DrinkHighlightsNews

Delivery Flourishes Again in Lockdown

More than half of consumers in England ordered food for delivery in the first week of the country’s second lockdown, CGA’s consumer research shows.

The last in a three-part series of delivery insights reveals how the market has evolved since the first national lockdown in the spring, with innovations like restaurants’ cook-at-home kits now how the sector is rapidly diversifying.

CGA’s mid-November Consumer Pulse survey of 500 people in England shows that within a week of sites closing for eat-in, 52% of consumers had ordered deliveries from restaurants or takeaway outlets. Nearly a fifth (18%) had yet to order, but were planning to do so over the four-week lockdown. After a strong final week of trading before lockdown, it shows that consumers still have a huge appetite for restaurant food.

CGA’s BrandTrack survey has shown that 43% of consumers in Britain now order food at least monthly—and frequency is likely to rise while restaurants are closed in November. Nearly a third (30%) of consumers in England say they would order restaurant food for delivery more often than during the first lockdown. New customers have been brought into the market too, with 8% getting deliveries for the first time during the first week of the latest lockdown.

The Pulse survey also reveals how the delivery market has moved well beyond standard boxes of food. Alcoholic drinks deliveries are increasingly popular, while a desire for restaurant quality meals and experiences at home has brought previously niche options like cook-at-home kits and virtual experiences like drinks masterclasses—which are appealing to 37% and 25% of respondents respectively—into the mainstream.

As lockdowns have gone on, operators have found increasingly creative ways to engage consumers with deliveries and generate valuable sales,” says Charlie Mitchell, CGA’s research and insight director. “It’s clear that delivery has cemented its place in consumers’ behaviour, and we are going to see many more innovative and experiential dimensions to it in the years ahead.”

The Pulse survey uncovers a variety of opinions about the pricing, booking and effort involved in meal kits. Consumers who are interested in them say they would pay an average of £27, with a third willing to pay more than £30. The majority (55%) expect very little effort to be required to complete meals, but one in six (17%) says they would be prepared to put in a lot of work. Booking expectations vary too: while around a quarter (27%) of consumers anticipate having to order a week or more in advance, a similar number (24%) want to be able to receive same-day delivery.

With leading brands like Hawksmoor, Dishoom and Pizza Pilgrims successfully moving into the meal kit space in recent months, the survey shows the scale of the opportunity for operators in all segments of the delivery market—from value takeaways to Michelin-starred finish-at-home dining.

The spectrum of consumers’ interests in delivery is wider than we might think, and there are multiple entry points into the sector now,” says Charlie Mitchell. “With competition increasing, operators will need to make their delivery offers distinctive, well defined and high quality. Lockdowns are tough, but they do present good opportunities to extend the eating-out brands that consumers love into their homes too.”