In a sign of the times, Uber said today it had agreed to purchase alcohol delivery company Drizly in a $1.1 billion stock and cash deal. The acquisition is expected to close within the first half of 2021.
With ongoing lockdowns and restrictions, it makes sense for Uber to continue to expand its delivery offerings to alcohol with Drizly, a company that partners with retailers in 1,400 cities to deliver alcohol on demand.
In December 2020, Uber announced the completion of the acquisition of food delivery app Postmates in an all-stock $2.65 billion transaction. And last August, Uber Health expanded its services to include access to pharmaceutical delivery in Seattle and Dallas, in partnership with the delivery platform NimbleRx, “with plans to grow in the coming months.” The company said at the time that as COVID-19 cases were still on the rise across the U.S., getting to a pharmacy to pick up prescriptions can be challenging for many and nearly impossible for some.
“Wherever you want to go and whatever you need to get, our goal at Uber is to make people’s lives a little bit easier,” said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in a statement today. “That’s why we’ve been branching into new categories like groceries, prescriptions and, now, alcohol. Cory [CEO Cory Rellas] and his amazing team have built Drizly into an incredible success story, profitably growing gross bookings more than 300% year-over-year. By bringing Drizly into the Uber family, we can accelerate that trajectory by exposing Drizly to the Uber audience and expanding its geographic presence into our global footprint in the years ahead.”
The pandemic has fueled online sales of alcohol. The Wall Street Journal, citing industry tracker IWSR, said e-commerce made up just 1% of retail U.S. alcohol sales by volume in 2019 but is expected to grow to 7% by 2024.
The WSJ says the tracker estimated online alcohol sales in the U.S. grew 80% by value last year from the year earlier, and the country is “poised to overtake China this year as the world’s largest online alcohol market.” IWSR, as reported by The WSJ, goes on to say that the pandemic has created enormous awareness among Americans that they can buy booze online, and 44% who buy alcohol via e-commerce only began doing so last year.
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