This year on Karwa Chauth, Rekha Chanan, a rushed financial services professional, put together the Sargi gift set (a meal eaten before sunrise by women who fast on the occasion) for her daughter-in-law by ordering items on instant commerce app Blinkit.
On the climactic World Cup Cricket final day, cola flowed like water across homes in India, aided by instant commerce apps. Zepto delivered 1,00,000 Thums Up cans before the game started and by 5.30 pm it had climbed to 2,00,000 cans. A few days earlier, on Dhanteras, silver and gold coins flew from apps such as Blinkit and Swiggy Instamart. A gung-ho Albinder Dhindsa, Blinkit Founder and CEO, shared on X a photo of 100 silver coins going out on a single order.
When it first started, people dismissed quick commerce and 10-minute delivery services as gimmicky and a fad that wouldn’t last. But the quick commerce apps have displayed amazing agility and innovation, rising to every festive and sporting occasion to become an indispensable part of the lives of many Indians.
The World Cup effect
Take how these apps tweaked their offerings for the World Cup cricket, staying two steps ahead in anticipating consumer needs. Instamart had stocked up on everything from party essentials to the Indian jersey. During the finals, according to Swiggy Instamart, there was a peak of nine jersey orders per minute on the app.
Zepto saw its highest ever order volume on the final’s day with 4-5 lakh orders were delivered in a single day. Not only did the app see exponential growth for Thums Up, but Red Bull, Coke Zero and Schweppes too sold briskly as did munchies like such as Bingo, Pringles, Act II and Doritos. “World Cup is the event of the decade in India, even bigger than Diwali! The partnership with Thums Up has been a massive success in driving traffic — we hope to do more such partnerships that can be a win-win for us and our brand partners,” said Zepto Founder Aadit Paalicha on the World Cup final day sales.
The ingenious way in which the instant delivery apps have kept tweaking their inventory with an eye on the festive calendar has helped them gain more customers. “Certain products tend to gain prominence during specific festivals. This dictates our inventory management strategy. For example, during Raksha Bandhan, Dhanteras and Diwali, we curated assortments like gold and silver coins, rakhis, gifting packs, pooja essentials like Ganga jal, cow dung cakes and more,” said a Blinkit spokesperson. “This has resulted in a bigger consumer base especially for small D2C brands which are now seeing a larger share of revenue coming from quick commerce platforms like ours,” he added.
In an investor presentationHonasa Consumer, known for brands such as Mamaearth, said quick-commerce is emerging as a strong channel with 100 per cent year-on-year growth.
Even for large FMCG firms, quick commerce has become a strong growth pillar. MTR India CEO, Sunay Bhasin, during a recent interaction, described how 65 per cent of its e-commerce now comes from quick commerce apps.
Nestle India Chairman and MD Suresh Narayanan in a recent earnings meet said, “Nearly 50 per cent of our e-commerce business today is quick commerce and growing faster. So Blinkit is becoming as important as Amazon. That’s the reality of the business,” he said.
Dabur India is equally excited. In an investor meet earlier this year, Dabur India CEO Mohit Malhotra pointed out, “Within the e-commerce space, quick commerce’s contribution is expected to be 25-30 per cent in two years. For instance, Zepto is growing at 200 per cent for us. All quick commerce platforms are doing exceedingly well for us,” Malhotra stated.
AI-based market research firm Humanify, which did a lot of listening-in on how people celebrated Diwali, found that several people used delivery apps such as Porter to send gifts rather than going personally. Add that to the way India is taking to the instant commerce apps, it’s clearly not just the age of convenience and comfort but also speed.