Lockdown and online business

The 2021 lockdown, decreed and announced in early April, had a terrible blow to an economy that had seen one of its major assets crippled by the world pandemic. After a catastrophic tourism season, the last strike was inflected with the lockdown. Yet, one business sector had prevailed during the 2020 pandemic and came triumphantly from the lockdown: the online commercial apps and delivery services.

Though citizens could wonder about their residence to grab some few items from ambulant sellers, it was more complicated for most of them to cross Sangkat limits to enjoy a mouth-watering Kuyteav. The (food) pandas and their acolytes soon discovered that they had became an essential part of the metropole’s food flux, an essential business in a way.

Until this point, only an urban elite was seduced by a service bringing just about any delicacies to their doorsteps, from a handful of taps on mobile app.  They were, in large majority, folks with enough knowledge and insurance in placing virtual orders onto a mobile phone. Moreover, they usually had a bank account connected to the same device to ease the process.

Of course, business is a nature, and naturally a few novel entrepreneurs leaped into the arena to witness and serve the fast-growing market. Today there are one dozen delivery service companies in Phnom Penh alone, competing fiercely to grab the lion’s share, to become the number one.

The main interrogation now is whether those brand new customers will continue using this service in a post-lockdown world. Did they find this contemporary way of purchasing goods practical enough to make it a new habit? Will restaurant continue investing in delivery boxes? Will grocery shop continue adding new products on their platforms? The future will tell…  

Lockdown in Phnom Penh