During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Americans opted to order in while staying sheltered in their homes. It’s estimated that meal delivery sales reached all-time highs and by mid-2022 had grown an estimated 8% year-over-year.

However, industry trends show that food delivery aggregators saw a steep decline by the end of 2022. For example, DoorDash stock took a 67.9% loss, which is surprising considering its triple-digit revenue percentage growth in 2020. This stagnation in growth is seen across multiple food delivery platforms.

Thus, even though delivery apps have become a more routine part of mealtime conversations, the data indicate that adoption of food delivery apps, specifically those that deliver takeout from restaurants, struggled in 2022. CivicScience polling data reveal that overall adoption of apps such as Grubhub and DoorDash grew in the first half of 2022, but usage of the apps slowed throughout the year. Where does the market stand now? Here are four key insights:

When looking at the general population findings as a whole, 39% of U.S. adults use food delivery apps such as DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats to get meals delivered from restaurants, while 61% don’t use them at all. This represents the highest point in the last year-and-a-half, although by a slim margin.

The slight growth is related to a rebound in weekly and monthly usage, which dropped off in 2022. Among users, 25% say they use these food delivery services once or more weekly, while 43% use them once or more monthly and 32% only use them a few times a year. Quarterly tracking shows weekly app use hasn’t climbed past 2021 levels, but monthly use edged upward.

2. Age, Location, & Income Differences

As with most things, demographics significantly influence who uses a food delivery app and how often. Current CivicScience data show:

  • Food delivery apps win among young adults: 60% of those aged 18-24 and 45% of those aged 25-34 use the apps at least once per month, compared to only 7% of those 55 and older.
  • Those in the city also use food delivery apps more often than those who live in the suburbs and rural areas, specifically: 31% in cities, 22% in the suburbs, and 21% in rural areas use these services at least once a month.
  • Income-wise, those who earn less are more likely to use food delivery apps: 39% of those who earn $50K or less annually use a food delivery service like Grubhub at least once a month.

3. Using Multiple Apps Is the Norm

Additionally, data show that the majority of app users (58%) rely on two or more food delivery apps, instead of just one. Typically, 42% report they use one app, but 37% use two, 9% use three, and 12% use four or more food delivery apps.

This in part supports the idea that if an individual finds a food delivery app convenient while offering a clutter-free and easy user experience, they are likely to stick with one or two apps instead of seeking numerous alternatives. However, the large percentage of people who use more than one app makes it more challenging to secure consumers. Grubhub’s former CEO cited “promiscuous customers” as an obstacle to the company’s growth.

4. DoorDash Leads – Will Roku Further Boost Its Popularity?

Comparing the three biggest food delivery apps shows that DoorDash ranks year-over-year as the most popular among respondents (31% have used it), with more users than either Uber Eats (26%) or Grubhub (26%).

DoorDash looks to attract more users to its subscription platform, DashPass, through its new partnership with Roku. Roku users can sign up for a free 6-month trial of DashPass, which they can use to interact with ads from restaurants (like Wendy’s) they see while streaming and then place a food order directly from their TV.

CivicScience poll data show that 25% of Roku users say they’re at least somewhat likely to sign up for the DashPass offer. However, the biggest interest comes from those who may be thinking about purchasing a Roku streaming device.

Generally speaking, the opportunity to place takeout orders from your TV using a streaming device or service has immense appeal to certain consumers. CivicScience data found that 48% of Gen Z adults (18-24) say they’re interested in the possibility, compared to just 26% of those aged 25-34 and just 8% of those over age 35.

Evidently, food delivery apps are still popular but overall adoption appears to be stagnating. Innovations to the industry, such as the DoorDash-Roku partnership, could bring in new opportunity. Stay tuned for upcoming coverage from CivicScience. Want to see more up-to-the-minute consumer insights like these? Book a demo with us.