This was first published February 28, in our weekly newsletter Apptopia Insight. To receive insights like this weekly, sign up here.

  • Instacart (CART) reported its first full quarter of results last week, and its shares fell due to a profit miss. Management spoke to strength in Q4 and Q1 due to seasonality, which we see in our frequency of use metric.
  •  Average minutes per daily user trends for CART trail peers on an absolute and Y/Y basis; just like for social media companies, time spent in app is an important ingredient for ad revenue.
  • Lower engagement for CART users, combined with lower user churn, implies CART’s core users are “sometimes shoppers”

DoorDash’s (DASH) strength is apparent in both engagement (average minutes per daily user) and frequency of use. From August through December, DoorDash’s minutes per daily user increased sequentially in absolute terms. In January, minutes per user fell sequentially but continued to show strength on a Y/Y basis.

DoorDash and Uber Eats remain market leaders in frequency of use among food delivery apps. However, both apps have been range-bound without signs increasing the frequency of user orders.

By contrast, Instacart average minutes per daily user dipped in August – in both absolute terms and on a Y/Y basis – and has continued to decline. This trend, alongside Instacart’s low user churn, indicates Instacart users are “sometimes shoppers”. We will continue to watch frequency of use trends to see if management maintains this improvement, or if it was only seasonal strength.

Instacart engagement per day is weakest among peers

Questions on the underlying data included in this analysis?