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MENA growth in online food delivery in 2022

Updated: Oct 20, 2023

MENA growth in online food delivery  in 2022

Do you have a taxi service and have you wondered what the next step is to grow your business?

Doubting whether to launch food delivery or not?

Our Playfood team has made market research in the MENA region that will definitely be useful to you and help you make a decision.

Delivery of food is one such industry that has grasped the how, what & why across economies. When Covid’19 halted operations across segments, the food delivery industry was undoubtedly at an advantage. Today, it's a common sight for service provider representatives driving through the streets delivering fast meals in and around cities.

The Middle East is one such region where the food delivery segment has seen a healthy boost. Given the region’s rich and diverse food culture, it is only natural for the area to capitalize on its food delivery industry. According to Statista, it is estimated that the revenue in the UAE online food delivery is expected to reach US$2.18 bn by the end of 2022 with an annual growth of 6.33% overall resulting in a market volume of US $2.79 bn by the year 2026.

Geographically speaking, Saudi Arabia had the highest growth rate of food delivery revenue in 2019-2020 positioning it as the winner in the Middle East followed by other regions such as UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar.

According to data in ‘Digital Transformation in MENA 2022’, produced by cloud-based payments platform, over half — 53% — of MENA consumers purchased food online in the past year, with 42% consumers saying they are buying food online more frequently this year than in 2021.

food delivery perspectives

What really makes this market thrive are varied factors ranging from accessibility of numerous eateries, the convenience of delivery at the doorsteps and the availability of frequent promotions and offers that entice consumers to try out new dishes and restaurants.

Clearly, the demand makes way for service providers or players in the market. Over time UAE has witnessed a spurt in online food delivery players in the market spanning from grocery deliveries to on-demand food delivery or a combination of the two. When it comes to market share, Talabat leads the race closely followed by Deliveroo and Zomato taking the third largest share of the pie.

Deliveroo entered the market a year later in 2013, it is the most popular app in the UAE and has also expanded beyond the borders. Although Talabat ranks higher in volumes, Deliveroo attracts bigger spenders that focus on premium restaurants. With the recent investment from Amazon, the brand has plans for further expansions. It has an aggregate of 7.1 mn active users that avail of the services to order food from their favorite restaurants and have their meals prepared and delivered quick and hot. The app has seen tremendous growth and success in UAE, it stands second after Talabat in the region.

Next in line is the India-based app - Zomato, it understands the core values of UAE making it a sought-after on-demand food delivery app in the region. Established in 2008, the company has made its presence felt outside the geographical walls of Asia, it currently operates in Dubai and Qatar and is quickly expanding throughout the UAE.

Careem Now is another popular food delivery app contender in the region. It began its operations in 2012 offering services to the end consumers. Customers can earn bonus points by ordering food through Careem that can be further availed. One competitor of Careem was UberEats until 2020 when the latter acquired Careem expanding its reach and consumer base. Although Careem Now feasts on a small share of the market, it is an active player in the region.

In spite of the delivery giants, the Middle East market has a place for the younger entrants that are making their way to the top. Aggregating the on-demand food delivery and quick commerce services alongside other operational services are notable mentions of EatEasy, MunchOn, Eat Clean and Mrsool among others.

Post-pandemic-induced digitalization, changing consumer preferences and consumption patterns have starkly reshaped the face of online food delivery services for good in the Middle East. With over $19 million in funding received in Q2 2022 by the region's food delivery sector alone, the future of the industry looks promising as more activities are expected to further transform it.

After we finished researching the MENA market for readiness to launch a food delivery market in 2023. The Playfood team is absolutely confident that the MENA market is ready for food delivery markets.

Playfood provides businesses with a solution for their bravest delivery ideas. Cross-promo with taxi services? Millions of orders? Whatever it is, Playfood will complete the challenge.

Do you want to be the first in the Food Delivery market?


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