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Uber evolves beyond rides

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Since launching UberEATS six months ago, the company has learned some interesting insights into South African eating habits. JAMBU PALANIAPPAN, Regional General Manager for UberEATS in EMEA looks into the facts to do with eater’ and restaurants using the app.

First, Uber made it simpler for South Africans to get around. Next, we applied the concept of getting a ride at the touch of a button to bringing South Africans their favourite meals at their fingertips.

In the six months since UberEATS first launched in the country, we have learnt some fascinating insights into the habits and appetites of South Africans. You’re a classic bunch, with the most-ordered dish for 2017 being the cheeseburger. As UberEATS has food options to match all budgets, we have noticed certain trends throughout an average week.

Efficient businesspeople are pre-scheduling breakfast orders to arrive at work at the same time they do and offices are ordering in food or coffee for their business meetings. However, not everyone in the office is indulging. Many are turning away from canteen food in favour of ordering a healthy, nutritionally-balanced lunch!

UberEATS is also changing the way South Africans entertain. Instead of slaving over the stove and dirtying a sink of dishes, groups of friends are ordering in large quantities of small dishes to share on Friday and Saturday nights. Sundays are times when families gather, often ordering in their favourites for the Sunday night movie.

Observant eaters cottoned on to the fact that they are now able to order alcohol, something that we’ve not officially announced. However, eaters are responding well to this offering, requesting drinks for dinner parties and sun downers. Like most of our competitors one is able to order alcohol through UberEATS if it’s on the restaurant’s menu, and they have a ‘off premise license’. Uber has a strict policy that ID must be provided to the courier upon delivery.

Our largest order was over R6000, ordered by a generous company for an in office celebration, which is unsurprising as many businesses use the app to cater for corporate events.  In the first 2 months over 100 000 eaters downloaded the app so far.

Over 700 local restaurants are also benefitting from the ease of UberEATS as they use its intelligence for everything, from serving their customers better to deciding on the location of their next store. We have, for example, already seen how successful some businesses that are not ‘restaurant based’ have been. Restaurants are now exploring fascinating new business models, such as running their entire business online.

Take Bruno Persic for example. Persic, Joint MD at Philly Cheesesteak Co. recognises the potential of the UberEATS app, “we want to be part of the next big thing in food,” says Persic. “After meeting with the UberEATS team we decided to put the idea of a revolutionary “Digital Kitchen” into action. Essentially a digital kitchen is the same restaurant as Philly Cheesesteak Co. without the traditional front of house “dining area”. The key benefit being able to service an area like Sandton without opening a full service restaurant with the burden of exorbitantly high retail rentals of shopping malls or high streets. We honestly believe the Digital Kitchen concept will add a new dimension to dining convenience.”

Now, with the help of a new ‘restaurant manager’ restaurants are able to take their businesses to the next level. The newly unveiled UberEATS Restaurant Manager is becoming the one place restaurants need to go to manage and grow their business. As a first for South Africa and by partnering with UberEATS, restaurants have access to real-time data, which gives them access to their sales, performance, and customer sentiment data in an easy-to-understand format.

They see visualizations of key insights, such as customer satisfaction, most and least popular dishes, average prep time and sales by day. None of our competitors offer this kind of in-depth insight, and one can only begin to imagine the benefits this provides to restaurant owners. It means no more ‘guestimates’ – restaurant owners can make decisions on real data that is easily picked up and understood. Owners can now see exactly when they are busiest and need more support, whether a new menu is going down well, or if a price change is impacting sales.

With some restaurants increasing their sales by 20-50%, there is no doubt that UberEATS is great for business. Restaurants are employing extra chefs and runners specifically to meet the extra demand that UberEATS is generating. We have also welcomed over 1000 courier partners since our launch in South Africa. We’re just overwhelmed by our success and what a great, new form of economic opportunity UberEATS is providing in South Africa, a country with an unemployment rate as high as 26.5%¹.

UberEATS will continue to evolve to suit the needs of the eater and restaurants that use the App. Our data helps us to understand which areas are more popular at different times of day and week, which we communicate to our courier partners accordingly in real-time. The impact of the weather has been a great learning curve for us, as we learn how to manage the increase in demand while prioritizing the safety of our courier partners.

The UberEATS app is giving restaurants the opportunity to get real-time feedback from their customers on their service experience and favourite dishes. The learnings we have gathered around kitchen structures will also assist restaurants in making the most of their assets to drive new revenues.

We are also responding to our customer’s needs through analysing which campaigns they love most and listening to which services would make life easier. For example, we are currently exploring the possibility of offering freshly made, frozen baby food through the app for new moms. We already offer fresh food delivery; in Cape Town, Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants is using UberEATS to get their fresh produce to homes in minutes – taking away that extra trip to the butcher before a Sunday lunch or braai.

We are expanding super-fast so keep a look out for UberEATS, which could be available in your area soon. We’re excited to announce that we are now further expanding our reach in Gauteng, launching in Pretoria and Centurion soon, and within Cape Town, we will be launching in Constantia, Wynberg, Tokai, and Plumstead.

We are getting requests from both eaters and restaurants in all major cities, requesting launch dates, and our goal is to be in all major cities by end of the year or early 2018.

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Notre Dame, Scoop Makhathini, GoT, top week in search

From fire disaster to social media disaster, the top Google searches this week covered a wide gamut of themes.

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Paris and the whole world looked on in shock as the 856-year-old medieval Catholic cathedral crumbled into ash. The tragic infernal destruction of this tourist attraction of historical and religious significance led South Africans to generate more than 200 000 search queries for “Notre Dame Cathedral” on Monday. Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire that razed the architectural icon.

In other top trending searches on Google this week, radio presenter Siyabonga Ngwekazi, AKA Scoop Makhathini, went viral when it appeared he had taken to Twitter to expose his girlfriend, Akhona Carpede, for cheating on him. Scoop has since come out to say that he was not responsible for the bitter rant and that his account was hacked. “Scoop Makhathini” generated more than 20 000 search queries on Wednesday.

Fans generated more than 20 000 search queries for “Sam Smith” on Tuesday ahead of the the British superstar’s Cape Town performance at the Grand West Casino. Smith ended up cutting his performance short that night due to vocal strain.

Local Game of Thrones superfans were beside themselves on Sunday, searching the internet high and low for the first episode of the American fantasy drama’s eighth season. “Game of Thrones, season 8, episode 1” generated more than 100 000 queries on Google Search on the weekend.

As the festivities kicked off in California with headliners such as Childish Gambino and Ariana Grande, South Africans generated more than 2 000 search queries for “Coachella” on Saturday.

South Africans generated more than 5 000 search queries for “Wendy Williams” on Friday  as it emerged that the American talk show host had filed for divorce from her husband Kevin Hunter after 21 years of marriage. Hunter has long been rumored to have been cheating on Williams, which reportedly finally led to the divorce.

Search trends information is gleaned from data collated by Google based on what South Africans have been searching for and asking Google. Google processes more than 40 000 search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Live Google search trends data is available at https://www.google.co.za/trends/hottrends#pn=p40

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5G smartphones to hit 5M sales in 2019

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According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments will reach a modest 5 million units in 2019. Early 5G smartphone models will be expensive and available in limited volumes. Samsung, LG and Huawei will be the early 5G smartphone leaders this year, followed by Apple next year.

Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “We forecast global 5G smartphone shipments will reach a modest 5 million units in 2019. Less than 1 percent of all smartphones shipped worldwide will be 5G-enabled this year. Global 5G smartphone shipments are tiny for now, due to expensive device pricing, component bottlenecks, and restricted availability of active 5G networks.”

Ville Petteri-Ukonaho, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, added, “Samsung will be the early 5G smartphone leader in the first half of 2019, due to initial launches across South Korea and the United States. We predict LG, Huawei, Xiaomi, Motorola and others will follow later in the year, followed by Apple iPhone with its first 5G model during the second half of 2020. The iPhone looks set to be at least a year behind Samsung in the 5G smartphone race and Apple must be careful not to fall too far behind.”

Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, added, “The short-term outlook for 5G smartphones is weak, but the long-term opportunity remains huge. We forecast 1 billion 5G smartphones to ship worldwide per year by 2025. The introduction of 5G networks, by carriers like Verizon or China Mobile, opens up high-speed, ultra-low-latency services such as 8K video, streaming games, and augmented reality for business. The next big question for the mobile industry is how much extra consumers are really willing to pay, if anything, for those emerging 5G smartphones and services.”

Strategy Analytics provides a snapshot analyses for the outlook for 5G smartphone market in this Insight report: 5G Smartphones : From Zero to a Billion

Strategy Analytics provides a deep-dive into the air-interface technologies that will power phones through 2024 across 88 countries here: Global Handset Sales Forecast by 88 Countries and 19 Technologies : 2003 to 2024

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