What's Behind MENA's Seasonal Peaks in Food Delivery?
Mokshita P.
10x Industry

What's Behind MENA's Seasonal Peaks in Food Delivery?

Convenience, Mobile Culture, and Strategic Marketing Propel MENA Food Delivery Market, Projected to Thrive Amid Changing Consumer Preferences.

The food delivery market in the MENA is on a significant rise, driven by a growing demand for convenience among consumers. Data from Syrve MENA, a restaurant software provider, and Admitad, a marketing platform, shows that delivery orders increased by 10 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2024. This continues the momentum from 2023, where there was a 6 percent rise in delivery orders and a 5 percent increase in spending compared to the previous year.

In the UAE, the online food delivery market is projected to generate US$67.12 million in revenue by 2024, with an annual growth rate of 5.55 percent. This means the market could reach US$87.92 million by 2029. Over in Saudi Arabia, the meal delivery market is expected to have 19.5 million users by 2029, with 42.9 percent of the population using these services in 2024.

This year, UAE restaurants saw a median of 228,740 delivery orders annually, with individual restaurants making 32 million AED in sales from deliveries. Fast-food chains, which specialise in delivery, reported over 600,000 orders per year and sales of 126 million AED.

Mobile convenience is a major factor in this surge, with over 70 percent of orders placed via smartphones, reflecting the region's high mobile penetration rate. Promotions are also key to attracting customers; more than half use coupons and promo codes, while over a quarter take advantage of cashback rewards, highlighting the success of loyalty programs.

Anna Gidirim, CEO of Admitad, noted that content also significantly influences orders. Blogs and thematic web pages affect over 20 percent of delivery decisions, and well-targeted ads contribute another 18 percent.

Seasonal trends show a peak in delivery orders during March and April, aligning with Ramadan, and another peak in September and October. January and February tend to be slower months.

Cuisine trends are interesting too. Arabic food is popular in the mornings, with 71 percent of orders between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM, especially kebabs. Indian and Italian cuisines dominate dinner hours from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM. For Indian food, items like roti, butter naan, and dal makhani are top choices, while pasta and risotto are favourites for Italian delivery.

International chains see 64 percent of their orders during dinner hours, with shawarma, kebabs, and fries being popular. Fast food leads the delivery market with 89 percent of orders and peaks from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM, with churrasco and rolls being popular items.

According to Alexander Ponomarev, CEO at Syrve, the MENA food delivery market is booming due to the consumer preference for convenience and strong mobile culture. This trend is expected to continue as restaurants use data and technology to offer personalised experiences and meet changing customer preferences.

The future looks bright for the MENA food delivery market. Factors such as urbanisation, increased smartphone use, and the desire for convenience-driven dining experiences will keep driving growth. Mobile ordering, attractive promotions, and strategic marketing will continue to benefit both restaurants and delivery platforms.