Vembla, a Swedish delivery service for groceries and other goods, told The Spoon via email today that it has raised 6 million Swedish Krona (~$704,000 USD) from angel investors including Tuomas Kukkonen (FMCG entrepreneur in Finland), Michael Wolf (ex CEO of Swedbank), Manfred Aronsson (ex. CEO Discovery Networks).
Similar to Instacart here in the U.S., Vembla is an app that partners with local grocery stores in Sweden. Customers shop at stores on the Vembla app, while Vembla “shoppers” go in and pick up the order and deliver it. The startup promises to deliver orders in an hour.
According to the press announcement that Vembla sent, online grocery shopping in Sweden hit 5 percent of total sales in 2020, up from 2 percent in 2019. That growth is projected to continue to hit nearly 7 percent of total sales in 2022 (Source: Industry reports, DI, Nordea).
We aren’t that well versed in the Scandinavian grocery market, but it stands to reason that the COVID-19 pandemic would have a similar effect in Sweden as it has here in the U.S. Even though Sweden has been more lax in its approach to tackling the virus.
Domestically, the pandemic pushed online grocery shopping to record heights this year. Over the next five years, online grocery shopping is projected to take up 21.5 percent of all grocery sales in the U.S.
The bigger question for pure delivery plays like Vembla and Instacart is how long retailers will rely on them. Right now, third-party delivery services can help with the crush of new customers. But over the long haul, will retailers want to keep handing over the customer relationship to an outside delivery service, or do more investment to bring delivery in-house?