Rise of Q-Commerce in the Middle East with Talabat Mart

Talabat has definitely become a common household name in the past year, especially for you’re comfortable ordering food via their app. You can also add supermarket essentials to the list, since it’s almost the same process.

All it took was a pandemic that confined people to their homes, and gave some businesses an opportunity to shine bright. With years of experience handling food deliveries, Talabat forayed into grocery deliveries into what they dubbed as “q-commerce”.

Though it’s been more than a year since Talabat Mart (casually known as tMart) rolled out across the region, it’s time to see how far their q-commerce initiative has made online grocery shopping a casual habit. I’d say that Talabat encouraged people to trust in online shopping, as others followed.

With Ramadan around the corner, tMart will become an essential pillar once again like last year to fulfill people’s necessities.

Casting the Q-Commerce net wide

Talabat Mart initially launched in Kuwait (formerly known as Daily by Talabat), and expanded to more countries: UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, and Egypt.

These markets represent a total of 57 dark stores, since some of them include multiple locations to meet rapid orders.

  • Qatar has a total of 6 stores stocked with more than 5,000 products per store.
  • UAE alone has 20 dark stores, according to their VP of Q-Commerce. That makes up 35% of their dark store network.

With all the orders they process, what does an average tMart customer look like? According to talabat’s own data, this is their breakdown:

  • Aged between 20 – 40 years
  • 55% of ordering customers are Middle Eastern
  • 28% are Westerners, likely due to their familiary of online shopping in other locales
  • This leaves the remaining to be split among other demographics.

By running their own dark stores, this gives them insights into trends to better manage their supply chain process for items to be stocked. No wonder they keep wide variety of items stocked at affordable prices, which also offers convenience to customers.

What’s popular on Talabat Mart?

You may thinking what are the ordering habits of people using Talabat Mart. Look no further, as you might be surprised on some of these data points:

  • Most popular items ordered are bananas, Pepsi, and water.
  • Most popular category of items: snacks, candy, and beverages. Fruits and vegetables have been rising in volume as well.

If we could dive into some of the specific markets for more clarity, UAE and Qatar clearly provide a bigger picture to the order habits.



70,000 kgs of oranges sold

15,000 kgs of bananas sold (Dec 2020 - Feb 2021)

50,000 boxes of nappies sold in Q3 2020

1,000 kgs of Nutella sold (Dec 2020 - Feb 2021)

Only operator that ran 24/7 even durin the UAE lockdown

15,000 kgs of Qbake bread sold (Dec 2020 - Feb 2021)

60% of deliveries below 20min mark

Average of 25min for delivery time

When it comes to the entire tMart network, these ordered items provide even more context (numbers cover the period between Dec 2020 – Feb 2021):

  • ~1,000,000 large tomatoes delivered
  • 8,000 Frosties breakfast cereals delivered

Navigating uncharted pandemic territory

With countries implementing various levels of restrictions or lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, Talabat has been adept to pivot when opportunities have arisen out of adversarial challenges.

Did you know that the Talabat Jordan team setup a grocery delivery solution during a weekend, especially with a complete lockdown by the government? That’s quite a feat to pull off.

You might believe that food delivery was booming, but not according to their own data. Talabat saw a significant decrease due to changing behaviour, as people started to focus on affordability and opting for grocery orders instead of food orders.

They also went above and beyond to support businesses of all types with special initiatives:

  • Free delivery (based on location) to encourage orders
  • Deferring commission fees
  • Increased their marketing spend to support restaurant partners

The Future

Branching out to an additional vertical has been a bold move for Talabat, leveraging their years of food ordering and delivery. Seeing the future of this new segment, Talabat invested more than AED 65 million to grow this in 2020 and anticipates more investments in 2021.

They have also taken a more sustainable approach to deliveries in Qatar and the UAE. All bags have been replaced to use biodegradable plastic bags, which are 6x stronger than paper bags. This makes them reusable for other purposes and friendly to the environment.

As a subtle change for food ordering, all food orders had the ‘no-cutlery’ option as a default setting. That resulted in orders growing from 6.5% to 62.6% in just four months, yielding an additional reduction to plastic usage.

Meanwhile, I need to go and order some essentials on tMart.

Image credit: Talabat

Author: Yasser Masood

Think of me as a grassroots community evangelist. Juggling social media while covering technology/digital trends across the Middle East and crossroads of society and culture, while unearthing other perspectives that pique my interests.

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