A Usability Analysis of the Food-Delivery Duopoly in India

A Usability Analysis of the Food-Delivery Duopoly in India

In this post we look at two food delivery applications with an established duopoly in the Indian market - Swiggy and Zomato. Specifically, we do a usability study on their mobile app available for usage on android devices. The 336 point Nielsen Norman Group’s guidelines on mobile app usability is used as a metric for the evaluation of both these apps. Additionally, we also conduct a user study (n=66) to understand user demographic and user perception of both Swiggy and Zomato. Swiggy performs slightly better in our user survey, whereas Zomato scores higher on Nielsen Norman Group’s usability guidelines. Though the sample size and methodology inhibits us from drawing strong conclusions, further studies must be conducted for the same.


With the advent of fast and reliable internet services and increasing smartphone penetration in India, mobile app based logistic solutions are rapidly becoming a crucial component of how people get things done. Food delivery has been a large market for decades in India, though limited to hyperlocal clusters due to a dearth of communication technology and its availability. With the presence of smartphones and cheap internet, this communication gap is evaporating quickly as new avenues open up for users and restaurants alike in the domain.

In India, the mobile space in food delivery was initially highly competitive with a large number of players active both locally and throughout the nation. These included Swiggy, Zomato, Foodpanda, Uber Eats, TinyOwl, Fassos among others. Over time, as is the case for any maturing market, the number of players dwindled down due to acquisitions, mergers and bankruptcies. Eventually, this has resulted in a duopoly between Zomato and Swiggy – with both these applications serving Tier-I and Tier II cities all over the country. There are other active apps, including Fassos, Eat Fit among others, but they have not been considered in this analysis as they cater to a single restaurant chain and have significantly lower volumes of sales.


Fig : Food Delivery App Volumes in late 2018 Foodpanda was later acquired by OlaCabs Inc. and has now shut operations. UberEats was acquired by Zomato. In this figure, there is a clear trend towards accumulation of greater volumes for the combination of two players : Swiggy and Zomato.

The nature of the current market (a duopoly) is interesting from a usability point of view as it gives us a unique opportunity to directly compare the two aforementioned applications for ease of use and after extensive surveys and confounding variables elimination, draw conclusions for good usability practices in the domain and maybe even propose a set of brief guidelines that can be adhered to for applications active in food delivery.

Our motivation behind this approach is to make mobile applications that provide food delivery easier to use for the end users, while giving insights to the application development team on best practices to follow, features to improve upon and workflows to simplify, simultaneously. We also aim to understand how important usability is for end users when choosing between two applications which provide comparable, if not similar, services - as is the case here in the food delivery duopoly of India.

Orders by cities

Fig : Food delivery remains a largely urban phenomenon (2018)

There exist studies that explore these two applications and user preferences, most notably Thomas and Patel (2020) and Dwiwedi et al. (2020), but interestingly we could not find a single study that explored these two applications from a usability engineering perspective, despite the enormous presence of both these apps in the urban Indian landscape.

We will take a quick look at both these applications in this section before proceeding to further details of our work.

You can read the full report for the work done here. For any queries/feedback feel free to contact me.

A Usability Analysis of the Food-Delivery Duopoly in India



Vivek Kaushal

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