Those who like to have groceries delivered to their homes are currently experiencing a changing industry. Some are discontinuing their services, but well-known retailers such as Rewe are investing heavily. What great advantage this has for customers – and what that does to the prices.

When the postman rings twice – and brings the tomatoes: more and more people no longer get their groceries in the supermarket, but have them delivered to their homes. Experts say that by 2030, eight percent of groceries in Germany will be sold online. Or to put it another way: every twelfth tomato will soon be delivered by courier.

A gigantic market had been beckoning for a long time, and it seemed to spread quickly: startups like Gorillas and Knuspr were growing fast and shrinking even faster. Investors rushed into the delivery services by the tens of millions and consumers enjoyed the hunt for new customers to the fullest: they benefited from the price war. The startups wanted to grow fast and retain every customer at practically any cost. This worked quite well for a while, especially during the corona lockdowns.

But now a lot is coming together: Firstly, the demand is lower than the supply since the restaurants have reopened and Corona feels over. Second, investors are skimping because of the crises: the delivery services have fresh tomatoes, but there is a lack of fresh money. For example, the top dog gorillas has stopped deliveries in numerous cities. The company is now owned by Turkish competitor Getir. The competitor Knuspr does not start in Hamburg as planned, the Norwegian delivery service Oda cancels its start in Bochum – to name just a few examples.

Those with a sweet tooth quickly create a vacuum in crisp bags, but the economy cannot stand such a thing: where someone withdraws, someone else quickly fills the gap. And the same goes for delivery services. The old ones, i.e. established brands of all sizes, of all people want to use their strength to secure market shares. Be it that they operate the delivery service themselves or participate in young companies.

One example is Tegut, a small but innovative retailer that operates automated stores without staff and sells goods through Amazon Fresh. Its 300 shops are mainly in Bavaria, Hesse and Thuringia. First, Tegut in Darmstadt started a cooperation with Lieferando, which is known for delivering ready-made menus by bike courier. Then came Frankfurt, and soon Wiesbaden. In ten cities there is also a cooperation with Amazon. The promise: the goods will be at home in two hours, free of charge from an order value of 60 euros.

The big retail brands don’t sleep either, but they go different ways. Penny, among others, also relies on cooperation. The discounter works with the delivery platform Wolt and Bringoo, who also deliver for Edeka and Globus. Speaking of Edeka: The retail giant is still reticent overall – apart from a share in the startup Picnic. That wanted to grow especially in the Ruhr area, because the area has been pretty much ignored so far.

But the retail giant Rewe has also recognized this and is making great strides here: In the Ruhr area, the Cologne-based group already delivers to homes quite extensively and is also expanding strongly in other parts of Germany. People in more rural areas are the main beneficiaries of this trend. Because the delivery startups have so far mainly served metropolises – this is where they were able to grow most effectively. The dealers have a different infrastructure. That means: there are more and more offers in the area.

But precisely where competition has been intense up to now, the current industry trend has disadvantages for consumers: where the competition falls, the price usually rises. Usually the nice offers end when the market is distributed. That means: If a provider comes to the conclusion that he has enough customers for the time being, he increases the prices. The less competition there is between young and old delivery services, the higher the probability that the customer will have to pay more at some point. Maybe it makes a difference where you get your tomatoes from.