A bevy of new companies have descended on the hyperlocal delivery space in the last few years, but the oldest player in the game is still struggling to make money.
Big Basket’s revenue grew a mere 5% in FY23, rising from Rs. 7,095 crore in FY22 to Rs. 7,434 crore in FY23. In comparison, its expenses grew 13.5% from Rs. 7,929 crore in FY22 to Rs. 8,998 crore in FY23. As a result, Big Basket’s loss ballooned 89% from Rs. 812 crore in FY 22 to Rs. 1535 crore in FY23.
Big Basket’s narrowing margins come amidst the growing competition in India’s hyperlocal food delivery space. Big Basket had been founded all the way back in October 2011, and was the pioneer of India’s grocery delivery industry. It saw off the challenge of the first wave of grocery delivery startups which included the likes of Grofers, PepperTap and grocery-delivery plays by Ola and Flipkart, most of which ended up shutting down their businesses.
But over the last couple of years, Big Basket has had to face increased competition from upstarts like Zepto, which began delivering groceries in 10 minutes. The entire industry was forced to pivot as a result — Grofers rebranded to Blinkit to deliver groeries in 10 minutes, Dunzo said it would deliver in 19 minutes, and even Big Basket launched a quick delivery service named BB Now.
But all the quick-commerce players are hemorrhaging money. Blinkit reported losses of Rs. 1,440 crore in FY22, while Zepto had lost Rs. 390 crore in the same period. Big Basket, which had anyway never made a profit over the last decade, is now having to deal with this increased competition. The opening up of newer choices among customers has caused BigBasket’s revenue growth to slow down — the company’s revenue grew at 17% last year, and only at 5% this year. Simultaneously, its expenses have soared, as it looks to match the discounts and delivery times of the newer entrants. It remains to be seen how Big Basket responds to the challenge of the latest crop of grocery delivery players, but at the moment they’re inflicting some serious damage on its financial numbers.