Americans love comfort, but according to French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville, it’s been that way since at least the 1830s. Food delivery drones now usher in a new era of convenience – faster and more technology-dependent. But while companies like Uber are still testing out their delivery drone capabilities, how are food and grocery delivering apps faring?
We surveyed nearly 1,000 people who reported ordering food delivery at least once per month. We learned how often they used their apps, how much it costs them, and if the time saved is worth the overall cost of the service. Our findings also explore whether people make fewer healthy choices with the convenience of a food or grocery delivery service.
Which Apps and How Often?
There are dozens of food-related apps, but food delivery is different from grocery delivery. When we refer to food delivery apps, we’re talking about services like Grubhub, Uber Eats, and Seamless – companies that have taken over the job only the pizza man was once willing to do. But when we mention grocery delivery apps, picture Shipt, AmazonFresh, and Instacart: services that do your grocery shopping for you.
Nearly 3 in 4 people reported using food and/or grocery delivery apps. On average, those who used food delivery apps made eight orders per month, compared to five grocery delivery orders per month. Although having food and/or groceries delivered is about physical convenience – having someone else do something you don’t want or have the time to do – there didn’t seem to be a strong correlation between how physically active someone was and how likely they were to use a service.
There is an abundance of food and grocery delivery apps out there, but which were the most popular among those polled? Grubhub was the top food delivery service – 66% of the people in our study used it. DoorDash (60%) and Uber Eats (59%) followed.
Although Amazon is setting up brick-and-mortar stores in some communities, the company’s AmazonFresh was the most popular grocery app among those who used a delivery service. Thirty-one percent chose AmazonFresh over Instacart (27%) and Prime Now (15%) – in classic Beyoncé fashion, Amazon only competes with itself.
How Much Does It Cost?
Convenience is lovely, but as the saying goes, it comes with a price tag. Food delivery fees cost anywhere from $24 to $64 per month – that’s how much extra you might be paying to have your McDonald’s brought to your door.
But do people who go for convenience spend more money on food-related expenses? To answer that question, we surveyed 200 people who did not use food or grocery delivery apps. We then compared their monthly spending with that of the 994 people who used food and/or grocery services.
Our analysis found that people who don’t use food or grocery delivery apps saved an estimated $242 on monthly food-related expenses: App users spent, on average, $750 per month, and nonapp users spent $508. Millennials in our study spent slightly more on food delivery than baby boomers and Gen Xers, but they spent less on dining out, grocery delivery, and in-store grocery purchases.
Why Food Delivery?
Once upon a time, going out to eat was a treat. But now, many restaurant dining areas are left looking like deserted towns while their kitchen staff scrambles to get deliveries out on time – times have changed.
Dinner on a weekday was the meal people were most likely to order in, which likely has to do with 39% of people saying they were too tired to cook or shop. A recent study reported that Americans spend a lot of wasted hours commuting – how could people possibly have the energy to make it home in time to cook and eat dinner at a reasonable hour?
But for some people, food delivery was less about exhaustion and more about getting time back: time with their family (9%), to catch up on work (8%), to clean (4%), and to exercise (1%).
Does Grocery Delivery Save Time?
Yes, it does. The people in our study who did not use any grocery services spent, on average, three hours and 46 minutes grocery shopping each month. However, those who used an app spent about 66 minutes less in store.
App users also took fewer trips to the grocery store, saving on gas and spending less time in traffic. Nonapp users visited a grocery store seven times per month, compared to app users who only went four times. Completing an online grocery list from home is likely more conclusive because the fridge and cabinet are within arm’s reach.
According to a recent report, 95% of American shoppers seek out healthy food options. And our collective reliability on food and grocery services doesn’t seem to help because only 28% of people said it’s easy to access healthy options.
Our findings supplement the report: More than 2 in 5 people in our study said they feel less healthy because of food/grocery delivery apps, and 41% said they feel less active. Millennials were more likely to express feeling guilty or unhealthy than baby boomers and Gen Xers.
Future of Food
Americans love comfort, and they love food, so the future of food delivery is bright. Experts estimate that food delivery will amount to a $200 billion industry by 2025. Our study found that food and grocery delivery services allow Americans to spend more time doing the things they desire.
The free time that having food and groceries delivered saves you could be spent working out. And, no, you don’t have to travel to an on-site gym. Save yourself time and money – build one right at home. Our dedicated team of fitness fanatics at FitRated.com has spent hours researching the best products (treadmills, ellipticals, exercise bikes, home gyms, and more), and we’ll help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Methodology and Limitations
We surveyed 994 people who reported ordering food delivery at least once per month. Around 58% of respondents used both food and grocery delivery apps; 34% used only food delivery apps; and 8% used only grocery delivery apps. We also surveyed 200 people who did not use food or grocery delivery services to compare the cost of food per month related to grocery shopping and dining out.
Around 53% of respondents were female, and 47% were male. Respondents ranged in age from 19 to 80 with a mean age of 36 and a standard deviation of 10 years. Survey data have limitations, such as telescoping, exaggeration, and selective memory. We didn’t statistically test our hypotheses, and this was an exploratory look at food delivery app use and behavior.
Fair Use Statement
It’s never a bad idea to assess your monthly spending on food delivery, so feel free to share with other people who may or may not use food delivery services, but please only share our work for noncommercial purposes. Do us a favor by linking back to our page in order to give us credit for our work!