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What Getir Getting Out Means for Online Delivery

In late April, Getir, one of the early pioneers of the rapid grocery delivery market and still a major player in the category, announced its exit from the UK market.

To anyone visiting a major UK city centre three years ago, such a move would have seemed unthinkable. Getir – alongside its main rival Gorillas, which it acquired in 2022 – was investing heavily in media, with the two brands spending a combined £13m in 2021, according to Nielsen data. Much of this spend went into OOH and online video formats, with creatives promising 15-minute delivery times and eye-watering discounts for new customers.

In addition, the brand spent heavily price-matching Tesco and sponsoring Tottenham Hotspur’s training kits – a deal reportedly leaving the club £5m short. Across London, Getir’s purple bikes and rider outfits proliferated, as investment came pouring in for a brand valued, at one stage, at almost £10bn.

How the Rapid Delivery Bubble Burst

Getir launched in Turkey in 2015, but success and rapid expansion took off during the UK’s COVID-19 lockdowns. By early 2023, according to research from KPMG, almost one-quarter of the UK population had used a rapid grocery delivery service, rising to 47% of 18-24-year-olds and 41% of Londoners.

Yet, several reasons emerge for Getir’s downfall. Firstly, while a sizeable chunk of the population was tempted by new customer promotions, most rapid delivery outlets could not compete with major supermarkets on price. This, coupled with the rebound of retail following the end of lockdown restrictions, meant too few customers hung around past the initial welcome period.

Compounding this, several competitors entered the booming UK market. While further acquisitions eventually left Getir the largest brand standing, the very public interest they cultivated in the rapid delivery category became their downfall. More established players from the supermarket and takeaway sectors, such as Tesco Whoosh and Deliveroo Groceries, could command far greater broad appeal and were able to leverage a halo effect once they entered the market. This hurdle proved too high for Getir to overcome.

What’s Next for Online Delivery

Getir’s exit from the UK market leaves GoPuff as the last ‘true’ rapid grocery delivery brand remaining in the UK. In March, GoPuff announced its intention to expand to 24-hour operations in Newcastle and Liverpool, following a 35% increase in late-night orders. Similarly, the brand has seen substantial growth in sales of premium and organic products through its services, a signal that demand may be shifting away from low-cost alternatives as consumer financial sentiment softens (the7stars QT, May 2024).

Overall, the mixed fortunes of the rapid delivery sector further demonstrate that many of the shopper trends we observed during the pandemic were transient, as consumers were quick to revert to old habits once normality resumed. GoPuff’s expansion shows there is still a place for rapid delivery services, but brands will need to adapt to the needs of their customers.

For established retailers seeking to play in this space, brands can leverage a significant advantage of legacy awareness, but will still need to demonstrate reliable and efficient service to fend off challenger apps. Flexibility and free delivery slots, such as Iceland’s Same Day and Next Day services, can help to reassure customers that they do not need to pay a premium for convenience.