Retail in Asia

In Trends

In Southeast Asia, the ‘chief family officer’ drives online delivery purchases

A report on food and grocery trends by GrabAds identifies several trends gaining traction in Southeast Asia, where consumers are increasingly reliant on delivery services to replace or supplement restaurant and supermarket runs.

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The demand for groceries, for example, increased by 20 percent in Indonesia in 2022, according to activity on the Grab app.

The report also tracked top food items in certain markets in 2022: an average of 20 orders of fried chicken were made every minute in Malaysia, while in Vietnam, 20 cups of milk tea and 15 cans of beer were sold every minute on GrabFood and GrabMart, respectively.

Singapore, meanwhile, tracked a fourfold increase in demand for healthy meals, with plant-based alternatives building a solid following.

Retail in Asia speaks with GrabAds’ head of marketing, Jennie Johnson, on Southeast Asia’s delivery landscape and the rise of a new demographic. 

RiA: How have delivery platforms evolved from utility-based function to discovery? Are you seeing an evolution in how much time users spend on the Grab app?

Johnson: Delivery platforms are crucial in driving discovery, allowing merchants to build their brand profile and generate top-of-mind awareness with new customers. 

In the past year, we have observed that many users have come to Grab to seek out new brands and retail options. According to our report, 74 percent of respondents said they browse food delivery apps without any specific restaurant or store in mind. Meanwhile, 90 percent of users reported trying at least one new store through a delivery app they had yet to visit in person.

In this way, we can think of delivery platforms like ours as digital food courts, where shoppers take the time to explore and compare various offerings before making their final decision. 

The same report indicates that consumers spend an average of approximately 17 minutes searching and browsing their options before placing an order on GrabFood. This gives brands plenty of time to engage consumers with creative campaigns.

An excellent example is the German food brand Knorr’s ad campaign in the Philippines. Starting from the point of discovery, Knorr placed enticing recipes of Knorr-inspired dishes on the Grab homepage, where users could easily encounter them. If consumers found a recipe they liked, they could instantly purchase the required ingredients for each recipe on GrabMart through auto-generated shopping lists.

RiA: Which Southeast Asian markets tend to depend most heavily on food delivery platforms, and are there insights to be shared on their reasons?

Johnson: When asked why they use delivery apps, respondents in these markets typically cited reasons including convenience and the fact that services are on-demand. This was especially true among families, who turn to delivery platforms to help them balance their duties at home. 

In Vietnam (72 percent) and Singapore (58 percent), many of the most active food delivery users are married with kids, making them one of the key audience segments for brands to tap into when advertising on delivery platforms. 

  • In Vietnam, consumers ordered 1.2 times more often on GrabFood and 1.5 times more often on GrabMart. 
  • In Singapore, consumers ordered 1.5 times more often on GrabFood and 1.2 times more often on GrabMart. 
  • In the Philippines, consumers ordered 1.7 times more often on GrabFood and 1.4 times more often on GrabMart. 
  • In Malaysia, consumers ordered 1.4 times more often on GrabFood and GrabMart. 
  • In Indonesia, consumers ordered 1.5 times more often on GrabFood and 1.5 times more often on GrabMart. 
RiA:  Tell us more about this key audience segment. Have you observed new consumer profiles on the rise?

Johnson: We have identified ‘chief family officers’ (CFOs) as a specific, high-value segment of our users on the Grab platform.

Through transactions on the Grab app, we have identified this group based on indicative purchasing behaviour. For instance, they tend to purchase for more than two people and often need to purchase household and baby products. Their day-to-day travel locations include schools and supermarkets.  

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CFOs are a key demographic for brands looking to influence household purchasing decisions. Their behaviour within our app offers many opportunities for advertisers to do so: our CFOs spend 2.1 times more monthly and use delivery services 1.9 times more frequently than the average Grab user. 

They are also more likely to spend more buying high-quality products for family or friends. And, since CFOs are busy with family commitments, merchants should aim to help them lessen their burdens by promoting the right products catered to their needs.

For instance, easy and fun food options such as ice kopi susu keluarga and Indomie instant goreng seem to be favourites among CFOs in Indonesia.