In a sign of growing online food-ordering market, the number of daily transactions in Ramazan more than doubled this year compared to 2014, according to statistics compiled by leading internet food portals, such as EatOye.pk and Foodpanda.pk.
The number of daily transactions usually decreases by more than 10% every Ramazan compared to other months and falls up to 50% during the first 10 days, according to statistics.
However, the number of daily orders on EatOye.pk increased by 300%, according to the company’s CEO Nauman Sikandar Mirza. In case of Foodpanda, the daily transactions during Ramazan almost doubled this year.
“We’d like to stress the fact that our dining trends are changing. Now, the market has grown to a staggering potential and there is still [some] that remains untapped. This year, we are seeing an almost 100% increase in Ramazan orders as compared to last year,” Foodpanda.pk said in an email to The Express Tribune.
The Pakistani venture of Germany’s Rocket Internet also recorded a 10% increase in its mobile app visits, courtesy the rising number of mobile broadband users who are now using third-generation (3G) and 4G technologies - the country had more than 13 million mobile internet users as of April 2015.
Pakistan’s digital economy has been growing for the past few years but many e-commerce websites and online businesses including websites focused on ordering food, making restaurant reservations and food deals have shown a significant growth in the last 12 months on the back of growing mobile internet penetration.
Though there is no official data available to estimate the size of online food-ordering market, industry sources value this segment at Rs15 billion or $150 million a year. The segment’s growth rate can be judged from the fact that market leader EatOye.pk alone recorded a whopping 682% growth in its orders during 2014, the year it had a Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of over Rs150 million.
Though sales were down, especially in the first 10 days of this Ramazan, the statistics for the month of fasting certainly indicate the continuity of the general growth trend.
“We regularly promote Sehr and Iftar deals and have received a very positive response this time around,” Foodpanda.pk said in the email quoting its Co-MDs Ahsan Mateen and Talha Ansari.
Explaining, they said people tend to go for homemade food options at the beginning of the month but soon move to fast food and similar cuisines.
Naturally, the co-MDs said people who do not go out for Iftar often resort to online food ordering options. The business is not affected much in the holy month as compared to popular belief, they say, because the demand increases after the first 10 days.
When it comes to the trends, pizzas, burgers, Biryani and Tikka remain the most popular items in the online food-ordering market, according to the statistics.
While the segment continues to grow in Ramazan on the back of growing demand, there are indications that some of this growth is coming from non-fasting consumers, at least in the case of Foodpanda.pk.
“Our non-fasting consumers make up for 52% of the daily orders. The difference isn’t much but goes to show that a strong customer base orders during day time,” the company said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2015.
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