Thinkstock/ Steve Hik:Somos Images: Fuse

Online Food Orders May Soon Surpass Phone Orders

2016 could be the first year when more people order food online than over the phone

Thinkstock/ Steve Hik:Somos Images: Fuse

Phone ordering has been dwindling in popularity for the past five years. 

In today’s world of smartphones and near-universal Internet access, getting restaurant and food items delivered with little to no human interaction is easier than ever. In fact, online ordering is becoming so popular and efficient that it may soon surpass telephone ordering in volume.

Telephone ordering had a stranglehold on the food-delivery market as recently as five years ago. Take a look at this graph from below and you’ll see how much more popular telephone ordering was — and how quickly online ordering closed the gap.

The number of online food orders has more than doubled in the past five years, from approximately 403 million orders in May 2010 to nearly 904 million orders in May 2015, according to the market research firm NPD. Compare that telephone orders, which have dropped from 1.39 billion to 1.02 billion in the same timeframe, and you really start to understand how many people are shifting to online ordering. 

GrubHub is the goliath of the online food ordering market, raking in $168.68 million in gross income last year, according to Market Watch. Startups such as DoorDash, Postmates, and others are also doing well in this burgeoning marketplace.  

While it’s impossible to predict the future, if this trend stays constant, 2016 could become online ordering’s first year as top dog.