Key Trends in Online Food Delivery, Consumer Behavior Patterns

Restaurants can offer a sense of luxury by offering food in premium packaging, thus transporting consumers to faraway places, and offering them a high-quality in-house experience, without having to go to the restaurant. This trend is especially relevant during the worldwide pandemic, when consumers are looking to escape the weariness and are looking for a glimmer of normalcy.

Consumer Trends

Listed below are the key consumer trends impacting online food delivery, as identified by GlobalData.

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Online food delivery can offer time-poor, busy consumers the convenience and efficiency they need by providing them with the ability to quickly choose meals or groceries without the need for physical store or restaurant visits. Companies offering online food delivery services can invest in online payment methods, an easy-to-use website, chatbots, and other conversation solutions to give consumers the ease and convenience that they demand.

Social media

Food is extremely visual. A good social media strategy, using high-quality photos and powerful messages, can help companies engage better with their customers and make them aware that they can order food online easily. Instagram and Facebook are notable tools for setting up restaurants’ social media strategy. One company taking advantage of a social media presence is Pizza Hut.

The Texas-based firm uses many social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube) to stay in touch with their customers, and each platform has unique features. It also collaborated with the independent creative agency Q+H, which created a monthly calendar plan for activity across Twitter and Facebook, allowing the brand to communicate deals promptly. As a result of the collaboration, Pizza Hut United Kingdom (UK) became “Number 1 Social Media Brand” in the “Top 100 Youth Brands” report.

Direct-to-consumer and ecommerce

The direct-to-consumer trend has been highlighted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Subscriptions and contact-free delivery on small and large grocery and meal purchases make it easier for isolated customers to buy exactly what they want during the global pandemic. Shopping online allows consumers to plan what they are going to buy, and it enables them to research specific products easily and quickly. Small businesses have found a significant boost in business through the online channel. Ecommerce has been the saviour of many small, local businesses that faced a bleak outlook when lockdowns forced their doors to close.


The cocooning trend refers to people’s preference to spend more time at home rather than going out. Consumers are using their homes as a base for comfort, safety, and heightened enjoyment, and trying to recreate out-of-home experiences at home. Companies should align with consumers’ demand for products and solutions to give high-value at-home experiences. They need to provide them with high-quality meal kits for people enjoying cooking, or ready-to-eat, restaurant-like delicious meals which consumers can enjoy from the comfort of their home.

There is also a growing consumer desire to experiment and try new cuisines through the “insperience” of their own home without having to travel or advance planning. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to various social distancing measures including city/state-wide lockdowns, causing pervasive cocooning. This was manifested through self-isolation, working from home, online distance learning, non-essential business closures, and consequently more online food deliveries. Some of the measures imposed to control the virus spread, such as working from home, are expected to continue or be more prevalent after the pandemic is over, so there will be an increased need for quality and fast online food delivery services.

Evolving landscapes and single lifestyles

On-the-go lifestyles are driving convenience, particularly for young urban consumers. As these demographics are growing globally, food delivery providers are ideally positioned to meet this demand. Also, worldwide, the number of people living alone has increased dramatically in recent years. For example, in the US, the number of adults living alone almost doubled in the last 50 years. The trend is more prevalent in richer countries, where people can afford to order food online more. Many single consumers choose to order food in, rather than go out.

This is an edited extract from the Online Food Delivery – Technology Trends report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.