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Carolyn Figel for Quartz
STATE OF PLAY

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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