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Sat 11 Apr 2020 12:33 PM

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Covid-19: Instashop sees business surge amid coronavirus pandemic

Instashop has plans to expand into three regional markets in the future, post-Covid-19

Covid-19: Instashop sees business surge amid coronavirus pandemic

Founded in 2015, Instashop operates in the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Qatar, Lebanon and Egypt. 

Online grocery delivery app Instashop saw the number of orders it was handling double within the first few weeks of the coronavirus outbreak, according to the start-up’s founding partner.

Since then, Instashop’s business has maintained its growth, processing even more orders as lockdown restrictions force consumers to turn to online shopping, with physical access to supermarkets limited to permits issued by Dubai Police.

“App downloads increased by more than 70% and the business is up by more 50%,” Cosmin Manea, founding partner at InstaShop, told the Business Breakfast show on Dubai Eye radio station.

“The basket value increased by 50% as well, which means that customers are ordering more. In general, across all KPIs, we've seen increases,” he added.

He said Instashop’s promise of average delivery time of 45 minutes has been difficult to maintain, with supermarkets in some areas experiencing issues meeting demand. While Instashop will process the order, it's up to each partner store to deliver the 'last mile' to the customer.

“In some areas, where we saw an increase in orders and maybe the supermarkets are not as efficient, then you end up having to schedule your order, meaning you have to choose a later slot,” he said.

“Overall the system we have on board at Instashop has managed to handle the increase in capacity. In some areas, unfortunately, you won't find a slot for one or two days. Usually we don't find an issue where you can't find a slot later than two days.”


Manea said the coronavirus is a game-changer for e-commerce in general, with more offline businesses expected to maintain and grow their online presence post-coronavirus.

“I think this is helping the online players, but also the offline players to understand the importance of online shopping. Hopefully after this whole story finishes ... they will understand that this is the future,” he said.

“Before the pandemic, only a small percentage of people were shopping online. Afterwards, when life goes back to normal, I think a big percentage will stick to online shopping because they will understand the convenience and the benefit you get by shopping at home and using your time for something else.”

Market expansion

Founded in 2015, Instashop operates in the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Qatar, Lebanon and Egypt. Manea said the company, which is part of the Jabbar Internet Group, still plans to forge ahead with its regional expansion plans, once the travel restrictions are lifted and life gets back to normal.

“Unfortunately the last month and a half was definitely difficult - to see how you can handle almost double the numbers of orders in a matter of a few weeks, it was a challenge for probably any team in the world. We learned a lot from it, but we still have plans to expand into other markets," he said.

"We have three markets that we want to expand to in the next few months; of course, now we're a bit limited with travelling, but if that's possible we want to look into it.”

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