From the early beginnings of the COVID-19 crisis, lockdowns of entire cities or containment zones have become an everyday phenomenon for the world population. Due to its dire effect on the global economy, as production, transportation, and movement of goods and services are stalled, macro business models had to be shelved for some time by the major industries in every sector. Since the hotel, hospitality, and food industry was already suffering, many businesses in this category turned towards different channels for distributing food such as the Internet and its variety of virtual platforms including digital and social media marketing services.
The First wave, Lockdowns, and the Online food ordering systems:
The largest food delivery virtual platforms such as Swiggy and Zomato did immense business during the period of the first lockdown. Besides these, Foodpanda, Uber Eats, Bundl Technologies, Domino’s, etc. also contributed hugely to the online food delivery market. Through such online food delivery applications, the partnering of hotels, hospitality, and restaurant chains was able to survive and thrive. An estimate by IMARC group of India’s revenue in this sector in 2020 reached a value of US$ 4.35 Billion. Divided into apps and websites, the current trends of this growing market are contactless delivery and related COVID-19 protocols.
The prosperity of other Related Sectors:
During the first wave and the subsequent lockdowns in India, online food delivery services also assisted the entire food industry and credit facilities such as Lazy Pay or Amazon Pay Later to thrive. The utilization of a variety of credit and discount facilities to order food online, assisted the banking and small NBFI sectors to stay afloat. The interconnected leveraging of credit, coupons, and discounts sectors with the food and hospitality industries helped them stay in business during the first wave and subsequent lockdowns. Also, digital and social media marketing services assisted in the dissemination of the food industry online.
Informal Online Food Delivery and Related Services:
COVID-19 patients who were in isolation in their homes were and are being serviced both during the first wave and the lockdowns and also currently in the containments and semi-lockdowns in the second wave. These also provided for alternate modes of employment and new models of business for the informal sector including expanded pick-up services by Swiggy.
One also finds the consistent utilization of digital and social media marketing as a silver lining to the market in these dark times. As most businesses in all sectors suffered or went out of service, those that relied on the Internet, such as the food delivery system expanded or innovated. Despite facing one of the worst recessions in world history, many such web-dependent businesses continue to thrive.