Rapid grocery’s rollercoaster 2022: a timeline

The look back: Perhaps no other category this year has had higher highs or lower lows than rapid grocery. From blockbuster funding rounds to layoffs and bankruptcies, rapid grocery startups have had to weather rapid shifts in investor confidence and consumer behavior. Now, a sector once teeming with players has been winnowed down to a handful of companies.

Looking ahead: The biggest threat rapid grocery startups face—besides the prospect of running out of money—is competition from DoorDash and Uber, both of which are effectively leveraging their scale and resources to grow their presence in the category. The two companies also benefit from having an existing, highly loyal user base, as well as the ability to deliver items beyond grocery.

To stay alive, the remaining slate of rapid grocery startups are throwing everything at the wall, including launching their own private labels, partnering with other delivery platforms, and opening their dark stores up to shoppers. But these initiatives are unlikely to relieve the cost pressures underlying the rapid delivery model.

Amid market uncertainty, it’s clear that quick commerce startups will have to change up their model significantly to stay alive.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Retail & Ecommerce Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the retail industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.