April 14, 2021 at 07:02PM

Just Eat Takeaway.com, a Netherlands-based food delivery service that operates in 23 countries, announced on Tuesday (April 13) that total orders for 2021’s first quarter were up 79 percent year over year to reach 200 million, that delivery orders were up 198 percent to 69 million, and that gross merchandising volume (GMV) was up 89 percent to €4.5 billion (about $5.4 billion).  The company, the result of Dutch food delivery service Takeaway.com’s acquisition of U.K.-based Just Eat last year, brought in 96 percent more orders than the combined count of the two delivery services in 2020’s first quarter, reported Reuters.

“The first quarter of 2021 marks our fourth consecutive quarter of order growth acceleration,” the company’s CEO Jitse Groen said in a statement. “Our fastest-growing segment was the United Kingdom, and we are especially pleased with the rollout of our U.K. Delivery network, which has reached an impressive 695 percent order growth rate year on year … Just Eat Takeaway.com is in excellent shape and the start of 2021 has been very strong.”

In addition to the strong U.K. growth, the company also saw 124 percent year-over-year growth in delivery orders in Germany, 151 percent in the Netherlands, 88 percent in Canada and 256 percent in the rest of the world. The company does not currently have a presence in the United States, but the release stated that its $7.3 billion acquisition of Chicago-based delivery service Grubhub is “anticipated to complete in the first half of 2021,” which means it will be finalized within the next 11 weeks.

“Demand was helped by many restaurants using food delivery services for the first time, as they were only allowed to open for takeout meals during the pandemic,” Groen told Reuters of the company’s strong Q1 2021 performance. “Whether that means the competition is weakening, well, the competition has raised quite some money. In the end, this is about scale, and if somebody is much bigger than you and pulling away at twice the speed, you’re not going to overtake that player.”

The company has been focusing on gaining market share in the highly competitive food delivery space rather than on driving profits in the short-term, reported Benzinga. According to Business of Apps, Just Eat (which seems to be standing in for Just Eat Takeaway.com) held 50 percent of Europe’s food delivery app market share, while Deliveroo held 21 percent, Uber Eats had 18 percent and Delivery Hero held 6 percent.

The approach is similar to that of its soon-to-be competitor (pending the Grubhub acquisition) DoorDash, which has been seeing order growth but has also been incurring major losses. As Chief Financial Officer Prabir Adarkar told Fortune this week, the company looks to total orders as the measure of its success.

“The reason it’s important is that it speaks to the scale of our platform,” said Adarkar. “But more importantly, it represents the proxy for the economic value that we created for merchants that are on our platform.”

The company’s sales were helped by the pandemic, as restaurants that had never before offered delivery turned to the platform amid indoor dining restrictions, and as consumers sought low-contact ways to enjoy restaurant meals. Still, the post-pandemic future will likely continue to bring sales well above 2019 and Q1 2020 levels. PYMNTS’ research found that 80 percent of consumers expect to maintain some or all of the changes they have made to their restaurant aggregator ordering behavior during the pandemic, and industry experts predict that the food delivery market will only continue to grow into the future.

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