Uber is expanding its nascent grocery delivery program into New York City, The New York Post reported this morning with confirmation from Uber.
According to the Post:
New Yorkers who open the Uber or Uber Eats apps will now see a grocery shopping tab, which will use their delivery address to show them what participating shops are available to them. In addition to chains like Gristedes, D’Agostino’s and Westside Market, the app will also be able to send couriers to smaller shops like Sullivan Street Bakery and Dickson’s Farmstand Meats in Chelsea.
Uber has been slowly but steadily adding grocery delivery to its Uber Eats business around the world over the past year. In October 2019, Uber announced it was acquiring a majority stake in Cornershop, a grocery delivery service that covers Central and South America. Earlier this year, Uber entered into a number of grocery delivery partnerships in France, Spain and Brazil. Uber’s grocery ambitions hit the U.S. in July of this year, when Cornershop started delivering groceries in Miami, FL and Dallas, TX.
Online grocery shopping and delivery has seen record numbers this year, thanks to the pandemic. And though the numbers came down from their record highs earlier this summer, the pandemic is surging once again throughout the country as we head into winter and the holidays. This resurgence plus cold and flu season could see those grocery e-commerce numbers tick back up again.
As grim as the thought is, the pandemic’s gaining strength could explain why Uber hopped over most of the East Coast to provide delivery service to New York. During the early days of the pandemic, as grocery stores there struggled to keep up with acute demand for grocery delivery. If COVID hits New York again with any severity, the city will definitely need as many grocery delivery options as it can take.
Uber isn’t the only third-party delivery company getting into groceries, however. DoorDash launched its own on-demand grocery delivery program in August of this year. And, of course, there is Instacart, which raised another $200 million this month (and is suing Uber over Cornershop’s grocery listing) to help solidify its lead in grocery delivery.
Of course, with the ride hailing market depressed by the global pandemic, Uber is more reliant than ever on its Eats business. Growing its grocery business should help Eats grow its much-needed revenues.