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Carolyn Figel for Quartz

The month the entire world signed up for delivery

Alison Griswold
Member exclusive by Alison Griswold for The delivery dilemma

Before the coronavirus pandemic, on-demand delivery companies were still figuring out how to get people to try their services. Not anymore.

With an estimated one-third of the global population on lockdown, services that deliver groceries, medicines, prepared food, and other essentials have never been in higher demand. Even Amazon, a logistics juggernaut, is struggling to cope with the crush of orders. It’s as though most of the world signed up for a one-month trial overnight.

On-demand delivery companies have long said their technologies allow them scale as they grow in popularity. Now, the coronavirus is giving them a chance to prove it. In the space of a month, these companies have transformed from a luxury of the rich to the connective tissue holding much of the economy together. Whether they can deliver in a time of global need may also determine if they find their businesses permanently altered, with millions more customers comfortable ordering food and other essentials online.

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