“The actors of” quick commerce “want to replace convenience stores and redefine the relationship with shopping, even with food”

Tribune. Gorillas, Cajoo, Flink, Getir, etc. : unknown a year ago, these express grocery delivery start-ups (the “quick commerce”) are omnipresent in the center of large cities. They offer the possibility of having a delivery in 10 or 15 minutes – i.e. less time than it takes to go to a store and checkout – 2,000 essential or pleasure products (hygiene products , pasta or milk, but also aperitif board and beers), at prices identical or even lower than those of the urban proximity, with delivery costs of less than 2 euros.

Companies are multiplying (eight in Paris), watered by generous fundraising, in a speed race reminiscent of the rise of electric scooters in 2018-2019. Why such a frenzy? What is the real issue of this rapid trade?

Confidence crisis

What is playing out behind this new offer intended for young urbanites in a hurry, which could seem anecdotal, is the struggle between two models.

On the one hand, a large distribution at the end of the cycle, a faltering “empire”; on the other, technological companies that want to transform the way of shopping, and even of eating. And, for the first time, these “new barbarians” are able to take power.

The incumbent distributors, paralyzed by a development that they are struggling to understand, remain focused on the cost structure of their store networks and convinced that only purchasing power makes it possible to survive

Proud of France at the start of the century, food distribution is now at the end of the cycle: after a long phase of growth, it has reached its phase of maturity, or even decline for certain segments. The food scandals (mad cow, horse meat, etc.) have generated a crisis of consumer confidence, which is reflected in a need for reassurance and mistrust of brands and large retailers. The success of the Yuka application, present in more than a third of French households, provides a good illustration of this.

A phase of deconsumption began in 2017 in France: the French spend more, but they put fewer products in their basket.

Today, the goal is to eat better rather than eating more for less. It is a profound questioning of the paradigm of mass distribution and the agrifood industry since the post-Second World War.

At the same time, large-scale distribution is attacked by multiple innovations (online sales, delivery of meals, ultra-fresh, direct sales from producer to consumer, etc.). Result: consumers increasingly fragment their shopping, preferring the promise of specialists or the online experience to those of “everything under one roof” of the hypermarket.

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