Feb 16, 2022 Policy

Empowering Dashers, Merchants, and Communities Amid a Tightening Labor Market & Inflation

Our mission to empower local economies animates everything we do to support Dashers, merchants, and communities. Over the past several months, worker shortages have hindered businesses, and rising costs due to inflation have made it more difficult for many people and businesses to make ends meet. As economic conditions continue to pressure local communities, more people – the majority of whom have other obligations and sources of income – are choosing DoorDash to earn extra income, and more businesses are choosing to work with DoorDash to reach new customers and generate more revenue.

During the fourth quarter of 2021, DoorDash launched new efforts to empower workers with new opportunities, connect merchants to new customers, and support the communities we’re proud to be a part of. 

Preserving Flexibility for Dashers & Providing New Work Opportunities with DashCorps

Despite a tight labor market with more jobs available than people looking for work, we’re proud that over 3 million people chose to dash in the fourth quarter of 2021, helping them earn in a way that fits their lives. Throughout the year, over 6 million people dashed, earning a total of well over $11 billion. As our Dasher community grows, we are always listening to their feedback to become 1% better every day whether it’s through our Dasher Community Council, Dasher Advisory Groups, or surveys we regularly conduct. We consistently hear from Dashers that they value independent work, and recent surveys of Dashers illuminate the common reasons people dash:

  • 68% of Dashers said they use dashing to make up for lost income at work
  • 35% of Dashers said they use dashing to avoid applying for government assistance
  • 71% of Dashers said they work more hours at certain times of the week, month, or year, which suggests the flexibility of dashing is critical to their ability to leverage it
  • 64% of Dashers say that dashing helps them meet financial goals like paying rent and caring for their family.

A recent Pew Research survey underscored this sentiment and showed that the top three reasons workers choose to work on gig platforms are to save up extra money, to cover gaps and changes in income from other sources, and to be able to control their own schedule. It also found that over 75% of workers have had positive experience working on these platforms, and nearly two out of three people are satisfied with the amount of money they’ve earned on gig platforms. 

In December of 2021, we launched DashCorps, a DoorDash company redefining logistics and management services for local businesses, to power our new 15-minute-or-less delivery offering in New York City with full- and part-time employment opportunities. This work is different from dashing and requires individuals looking for a different type of work. DashCorps employee couriers have responsibilities beyond delivery, and are provided a reliable, consistent schedule, hourly earnings, and the structure that comes with employment.

In addition to this new employment offering for workers in New York City, we’re actively working on more ways to support the Dasher community. We’re proud to advance our commitment to safety via SafeDash and our partnerships with the League of American Bicyclists and the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives

Supporting Merchants & Growing Local Economies

Local businesses have continued to face challenges the last few months amid rising costs due to inflation, supply chain constraints, and the emergence of the Omicron variant. Our platform continues to be an economic lifeline to many of these businesses, who partner with DoorDash to reach more customers in more ways, and use new tools like our Merchant Portal to analyze sales performance, process orders, and improve the customer experience. 

Many small businesses require access to capital to maintain operations and invest in their future growth, but often do not qualify for traditional bank financing. To help merchants access what they need to grow their business, we recently introduced DoorDash Capital, a new merchant service that provides fair and convenient access to financing.

From December 2020 to December 2021, total active partner merchants across DoorDash Marketplace and Drive grew by over 37% globally. Same-store sales also grew 23% for Marketplace partners in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the same time in 2020 in all markets. There has been notable growth among new types of merchants beyond the restaurant, convenience, and grocery sectors. For instance, retail partners on the platform have doubled from December 2020 to December 2021, including new partners like JC Penny and Dollar General, giving consumers more access to a variety of goods on-demand. We also estimate that the number of customers who have ordered from a retail store on our platform has doubled over the course of the past year from December 2020 to December 2021.

We’re particularly proud that in communities of color, merchants are leveraging DoorDash to grow their revenue. As of December 2021, almost half of small and midsize stores on our platform in the United States were located in communities of color, generating over $3.42 billion in sales on Marketplace in 2021.

As we continue to provide merchants the tools and services to attract new customers and spur growth, we have continued to advocate for policies that support these businesses, including the expansion of alcohol delivery to help boost restaurant revenue and additional relief funding for restaurants who continue to struggle with closures or staffing shortages due to the Omicron variant. DoorDash is committed to supporting merchants that are building back from the setbacks of the pandemic, including providing all restaurant owners with the ability to access the Main Street Strong Accelerator curriculum free of charge online and awarding grants to local restaurants through DoorDash’s Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund

Helping Connect Customers to More in their Neighborhood

In addition to providing merchants the tools they need to grow, we’re also helping connect customers to local businesses in their neighborhood by allowing them to try new restaurants, cuisines, and menu favorites. Our January 2022 customer survey data shows:

  • 54% of customers discovered a local restaurant while using DoorDash that they might not have otherwise known about;
  • Of those customers that discovered a local restaurant through DoorDash, 74% reordered on DoorDash or visited the restaurant in person;
  • 85% of customers ordered from DoorDash when they otherwise wouldn’t have gone to a restaurant – DoorDash was often the substitute for staying home and cooking or eating leftovers, etc.; and
  • 39% of customers used deals available on DoorDash or via DashPass to try a local restaurant they otherwise may not have.

Over the past few months, millions of people and merchants have had to adjust for higher prices, worker shortages, and empty shelves due to pressure on the supply chain. DoorDash has and will continue to provide ways for people to earn, merchants to thrive, and customers to connect with the best of their neighborhoods.