GrabMart, LazMart fill grocery carts for locked-down millions in Philippines

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 02 2020 03:14 PM | Updated as of Apr 02 2020 04:43 PM

A Grab traverses Jones Bridge in Manila on Friday, March 27, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Grab and Lazada have rolled out grocery deliveries, giving millions on lockdown in the Philippine capital to stock their pantries while complying with the stay at home rule to beat the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.

Rice and instant noodles are among the top selling items online, reflecting shopping carts in physical stores where people wait in long queues. Like hailing a car or ordering lipstick before the lockdown, grocery shopping is done with a few taps on a smartphone.

"We are opening new services that will help everyone go through this pandemic...We use this capability to introduce and scale new services to help everyone in need," Grab Philippines said in a statement to ABS-CBN News.

GrabMart connects users to groceries and is on beta test in Quezon City and Pasig City, said Grab, whose food delivery service is also running during the Luzon quarantine that is scheduled to end on April 12.

Users near partner grocery stores will see the GrabMart icon on their apps. Shiela Reyes and Mark Beldad, ABS-CBN News

Users near partner grocery stores will see the GrabMart icon on their apps. Shiela Reyes and Mark Beldad, ABS-CBN News

Users near partner grocery stores will see the GrabMart icon on their apps. Shiela Reyes and Mark Beldad, ABS-CBN News

The lockdown restricts grocery shopping to only 1 person per household and in some locations, requires a quarantine pass.

Grab said food and package deliveries spiked during the lockdown, hiking driver earnings by 30 to 40 percent.

"At a time like this where people need immediate solutions to address mobility gaps during the enhanced community quarantine, our on-demand services come to the rescue," it said. 

Grab is also offering bills payment for select users, offering cashless settlement of utility and telco dues, Pag-IBIG and SSS contributions, cable TV and other government transactions.

Online marketplace Lazada said its LazMart service would give Filipinos access to essential goods while maintaining physical distancing.

Staples such as canned goods, personal care items and household cleaning items are the most popular, Lazada said. It said demand shot up in the first 2 weeks of the quarantine. 

"We’ve been closely working with the government to continually provide delivery services for these essentials while still abiding by all of the directives and updates posed on the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine)," Lazada Philippines said in a statement.

Bills payments and load top ups are also available on the platform, it said. 

While Lazada is working to adapt services to the quarantine, it is also "developing plans" for the resumption of business, it said.