after SinDelantal’s exit
What's next for Didi? (Photo: iStock)

The eyes of millions of users welled up with tears after reading the following official statement from a popular meal delivery platform.

“SinDelantal will close operations in Mexico as of December 4, 2020”.

Reactions on social media were swift, and one of the most widespread was that of Lord Bayron Darks, a Twitter user who got dozens of retweets after having written the following message:

“What sad news! They’ve even closed their Twitter account. On SinDelantal, there were many small restaurants that gained publicity thanks to this app. It’s a shame this had to happen. This has been a very hard year, without a doubt.”

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The competition’s reaction

This sentiment has been shared by María Pía Lindley, director of operations for Didi Food in the north and south regions of the country, who in an interview for Tec Review, shows some sympathy for SinDelantal.

“Evidently, it’s a pity to us because we’re totally pro-competition.  It saddens us to see a competitor go. We’ve seen very loyal and very sad customer reactions, and we honestly share that sadness,” says Lindley.

Although this executive expresses that Didi Food doesn’t have special plans to win the preference of users who’ll soon be orphaned in terms of home delivery service, it does have a proposal in the short term for businesses registered on SinDelantal.

“We openly invite all restaurant owners who were previously on this other platform to come and visit us, because we have an interesting value proposition for them,” states Lindley.

In this way, Didi Food hopes to increase its current portfolio of more than 34,000 restaurant partners, in order to do battle in the hard-fought sector of food delivery applications.

María Pía also says she doesn’t expect the number of competitors to grow much more in Mexico, as has been seen in other parts of the world.

“We believe that the number of competitors isn’t going to change significantly. The reality is that you need to do things at scale in order for this business to be successful, so that you can promise users good delivery times or a good variety of restaurants, which is sometimes very difficult for new competitors or for small competitors to achieve.”

“Surely, a lot of startups and a lot of new initiatives are going to come in, but we’ve seen globally that this is usually an industry where there are no more than three or four big competitors at the same time,” says Lindley.

She also mentions that Didi Food intends to democratize access to food delivery in Mexico, where for many years the market has been limited to users with a certain level of income.

“We want people to stop thinking that this service is for special people or for weekends, and to start seeing it as an option that is absolutely for every day,” she concludes.

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A rapidly growing niche

Daniela Orozco, research director of the Mexican Association for Online Sales (AMVO), mentions in an interview that the internet is positioning itself as a tool for users to avoid contagion in physical stores and protect themselves from what the virus entails as a whole.

“Home delivery and saving time are taking on much more relevance. Meal delivery is one of the categories that has generated the most new followers,” says this expert.

She mentions that there’s a positive trend in online shopping, since in general all websites that sell products or services have had a constant growth of approximately 35%, a percentage exceeded by the food delivery segment.

“We’ve measured meal delivery sites from the second week of February to the third week of October, and they’ve had an average increase in visits of 50%.”

However, this increase hasn’t been as extraordinary as that of online supermarkets (a category in which you can also buy food), with a growth of more than 200%, according to Orozco.

Before the pandemic, some people hadn’t been motivated to buy online, but they’ve had to do so now due to the situation of staying at home. This has turned them into regular customers.

“This positive experience encourages customers to prefer purchasing products through digital channels instead of physical channels, and we hope that this increase will be a stable trend in 2021,” concludes the AMVO executive.

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