Analysis: Four Top Consumer Delivery Trends from 2021

Since the outset of the pandemic, foodservice delivery companies have become a staple of many American consumers’ habits. While they offered a lifeline to hungry consumers earlier in the pandemic during forced closures, many of these companies have also evolved to focus advertising material on convenience and expanded to include other retail delivery services, too.

With Lyft announcing its plans to join the foodservice delivery space recently, let’s examine which trends competitors DoorDash, Uber Eats, and GrubHub witnessed in 2021.

French Fries Reign Supreme

On both DoorDash and Uber Eats, the top-ordered item of 2021 was French fries.

Uber Eats also noted the popularity of the ubiquitous French fry, but with a twist. Uber Eats noted orders of cheese fries rose 1,234% when compared to pre-pandemic levels.

DoorDash also reported increased purchases of these modified fries, with cilantro lime fries (+341%), waffle fires (+178%), and garlic fries (+127%) all jumping from the prior year.

Regular French fries weren’t left in the cold, though, with DoorDash reporting orders of plain French fries rising 130%.

Foodservice Delivery Turns to Grocery

While DoorDash and Uber Eats both began as foodservice delivery services, forays into the grocery delivery space seem to be paying off for both companies.

Interestingly, both companies noted weekends were the most popular days to order grocery delivery. Uber Eats said the 5-7 p.m. timeframe was most popular on the weekends, while DoorDash said dinner time on Saturdays is the most popular.

Even GrubHub was looking to the grocery delivery vertical, highlighting a partnership it made with Instacart to extend two months of Instacart Express to existing GrubHub diners.

Well, That’s Convenient

Grocery stores weren’t the only retail sector to get in on the delivery trend, with pharmacy chains, convenience stores, and even floral shops joining in. Uber Eats noted partnerships with national operators like Walgreens, CVS, and 7-Eleven, and FTD allowed folks to order everything from Slurpees to COVID-19 antibody tests.

DoorDash saw c-store orders focused on snacks and drinks, with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, lemon-lime soda, mac and cheese bites, peanut butter cups, and energy drinks constituting the top ordered items in the convenience category.

GrubHub reported year-over-year gains for the top five most ordered convenience items on its platform, with 2% milk (+190%), toilet paper (+190%) and instant ramen (+143%) posting strong growth from the 2020 reference period.

Alcohol a Big Hit

All three major delivery platforms boasted of increased alcohol deliveries in 2021, with Tito’s vodka an especially big hit with DoorDash and Uber Eats customers.

DoorDash and GrubHub also signaled out margaritas as a popular delivery choice, with orders on the GrubHub platform rising 240% from the prior year.

Cabernet Sauvignon was a winner in the wine category. Uber Eats noted Josh Cellars’ version was a hit with customers, while the variety made DoorDash’s top-three list and orders rose 106% on GrubHub.