The Covid-19 pandemic has devastated millions of lives and livelihoods. It has also wrecked the economy and destroyed a vast majority of small and medium businesses. But the pandemic has also proved to be a blessing in disguise for some businesses such as technology companies that have enabled people to continue their lives from their homes.
The ability to order food from home is one such business. Food delivery companies such as Zomato, Swiggy, and others have benefitted enormously from the Covid lockdown-induced boost to people ordering food online.
Their businesses are booming so much that Zomato even wants to list itself in the stock market at a whopping Rs 50,000 crore valuation. Its chief rival is Swiggy, which has also seen a huge boost to its business. Or so it seems at least to the majority of readers of this column who have probably used Zomato or Swiggy extensively during the lockdown.
But what percentage of Indians are really aware of these food delivery companies and how many use them on a weekly basis? Prashnam decided to find out.
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First, we recognise that food delivery apps may only be an urban phenomenon. So, we identified 52 urban districts (as defined by the Census) in four large states in the Hindi heartland — Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.
We asked people the following two specific questions in these places in the local language:
Q1. What is Zomato?
It is an app like TikTok
It is a place in South India
It is a food delivery app
I don’t know
Q2. Did you use Zomato to order food last week?
To put these in context, we decided to ask the same questions about Swiggy. A total of 2,829 adults responded to the Zomato survey while 2,652 responded to the Swiggy survey.
What we found is that the majority in urban areas in these four Hindi states do not know what Zomato and Swiggy are.
About 48 per cent of the respondents (weighted by population) knew that Zomato is a food delivery app. While only 37 per cent knew that Swiggy is a food delivery app. There was not much difference in awareness levels across these four states.
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Of those that knew about these apps, roughly only 10-14 per cent had ordered food through these apps in the past week.
About 14 per cent of the respondents said they had ordered food through Zomato in the previous week. To put it in context, only 48 per cent of people in urban districts in these states knew what Zomato was. So, roughly 7 per cent (14 per cent x 48 per cent) of urban adults in the Hindi-speaking states use Zomato in a given week.
Similarly, for Swiggy, roughly 10 per cent said they had ordered food from it the previous week. This means overall, less than 4 per cent (10 per cent x 37 per cent) of adult Indians in the Hindi states use Swiggy on a given week.
Zomato and Swiggy may be ubiquitous brands known to all of us. But even in urban areas of the four large Hindi-speaking states, a significant majority do not know what these apps are and even fewer use them.
Zomato: Of the 2,829 adults surveyed, 76 per cent were male and 24 per cent female, and 65 per cent were youth (<40 years), 25 per cent middle-aged, and 10 per cent seniors (>60).
Swiggy: Of the 2,652 adults, about 76 per cent were male and 24 per cent female, and 64 per cent were youth (<40 years), 26 per cent middle-aged, and 10 per cent seniors (>60).
As always, Prashnam in keeping with its principles of transparency and integrity, will make available the entire raw data of this survey here for analysts and researchers to verify and analyse further.
Rajesh Jain is founder, Prashnam, an AI technology start-up that aims to make opinion gathering more scientific, easy, fast, and affordable. Views are personal.
The article is part of ThePrint-Prashnam Vox Pop series.