European Giants Consolidate in Competitive Ultrafast Delivery Space

delivery bicycle

It’s been a few days into the new year and the ultrafast grocery delivery market in Europe is already buzzing with consolidation moves as companies seek to gain a competitive advantage in the fast-growing space.

On New Year’s Eve, German food delivery giant Delivery Hero announced an acquisition agreement to become the majority shareholder of Barcelona-based unicorn Glovo that values the latter at 2.3 billion euros.

The deal, which is expected to close in the second trimester of 2022, will see Delivery Hero increase its stake in the Catalan company from the 44% shares previously owned to 83.4%, and marks a major consolidation move in the global delivery industry given Glovo’s growing leadership position in the city delivery market.

Read more: Delivery Platform Glovo Buys Spanish, Portuguese Companies

In September, the Spanish courier announced the purchase of two delivery companies: Lola Market in Spain and Portuguese company Mercadao, with plans to expand to Poland and Italy.

And the acquisitions came on the heels of a $530 million Series F fundraising round by Glovo, which operates in 1,300 cities across 25 countries in Southern Europe and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (EEMEA), accumulating 15 million active users since its launch.

Commenting on the deal, Niklas Östberg, CEO and co-founder of Delivery Hero, said Glovo’s multi-vertical service offered since its launch has made it a pioneer in the industry. “Their product focus and fast execution have given them a leading position in 16 out of 25 markets, despite having launched a number of years later than their peers​​,” Östberg said.

Founded in 2011, Berlin-based Delivery Hero is one of the leading global players in the food delivery space with operations in 50 countries across four continents. The German startup is considered a pioneer in the ultrafast food delivery space, aiming to significantly reduce the time it takes to deliver groceries and household goods to customers to under an hour or 10 to 15 minutes.

Read also: German Delivery Hero Buys Minority Stake In Gorillas Delivery Startup

Last September, Delivery Hero announced it was backing Berlin-based grocery delivery platform Gorillas with a $235 million investment for an 8% stake in the company, leading the startup’s Series C funding round.

You may also like: Delivery Hero Leaves German Cities and Japan, Citing Competition, Driver Shortages

Launched in 2020, Gorillas currently operates across nine countries — the U.K., U.S., Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Spain — offering last-mile on-demand delivery of grocery items and other essentials. As a sign of the firm’s rapid growth, it opened more than 140 warehouses and delivered 4.5 million orders in the first six months of 2021.

Also read: Delivery Startup Getir to Buy UK’s Weezy Amid Major Consolidation Moves in Ultrafast Grocery Market

In recent months, other key players have also made major consolidation moves in the ultrafast grocery market. In November, Turkish start-up Getir, which specializes in 10-minute delivery and operates across 15 locations in the U.K., agreed to acquire British rival Weezy as part of its plans to further expand into the U.K.

See also: Turkish Grocery Delivery App Getir Adds More Investment Capital 

Weezy’s business skyrocketed at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic as more people shifted to shopping online for their essential items, and the firm, founded in 2019, currently employs 700 people who manage its operations in London, Manchester, Brighton and Bristol.

Further reading: France’s 15-Minute Grocery Delivery Startup Cajoo Raises $40M as eGrocery Space Grows

French retailer giant Carrefour also made its foray into the ultrafast grocery delivery space in September, investing $40 million for a minority stake in French grocery startup Cajoo. The six-month-old startup operates 20 micro fulfillment centers in 10 major cities across France and delivers grocery orders by bicycle within 15 minutes.

Related news: Carrefour, Deliveroo Bring 30-Minute Grocery Delivery To France

The French multinational went on to extend its partnership with British online food delivery company Deliveroo last year, expanding its 30-minute on-demand grocery delivery service in Belgium, Italy and Spain to its French home market. 

Prior to that, the retail behemoth announced an extension of its on-demand partnership with Uber Eats in France, making more than 1,000 of its stores accessible via the UberEats application throughout France by the end of 2021.

Learn more: French Retailer Carrefour Pursues Quick eCommerce Ambitions in Europe With Uneven Q3 Growth Performance