The use of delivery apps continues to grow, but there is little data on their workers and users

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The companies do not give concrete data on the phenomenon. The numbers of a service that became key in a pandemic.

Restrictions on the mobility of people due to the coronavirus pandemic provided a direct push to delivery applications that multiplied their use in the main districts of the Metropolitan Area of ​​Buenos Aires (AMBA) and that, in little more than half a year, they landed with force in the urban centers of various Argentine provinces, although data on this phenomenon are difficult to track.

Beyond the impression generated by the thousands of bicycles, motorcycles and cars that roam the streets making deliveries of food and other products, there is no database that accounts for the number of SMEs that market through those platforms or that it can report on the number of consumers who use them.

Nor can it be known, for sure, how many workers are providing the service, the time they dedicate to the task and what are the remunerations received, according to consultations with sources in the sector made by the news agency Télam.

In this sense, different workers commented that the demand for products -through the applications- grew about 40 percent, while those who “pedal” through the streets increased by 30% only in Greater Buenos Aires.

Also, although app companies continue to affirm that mostly their “partners” -that is, the workers- They use them to supplement income for a few hours, the perception on the street is the opposite.

“Due to this growing demand, those who did ‘a few hours’ now do more and those who did ‘a working day‘With the application they now work overtime, but without the money they charge having changed. The companies imposed a system of bonuses for productivity, with goals difficult to achieve. To earn more, you have to make more effort and spend more on cell phone data, bike or motorcycle spare parts, “the researcher at the Center for Work and Development Studies of the National University of San Martín told Télam ( Unsam), Juan Manuel Ottaviano.

Added to the reluctance of companies to disseminate data is the difficulty to know the dimensions of this labor universe: the workers are not framed under the figure of “dependency relationship” and, instead, they are registered as monotributistas, without a specific category for their differentiation.

In this sense, of the 4 app companies consulted by this agency, only one agreed to provide specific data on the volumes transported.

Uber, traditionally associated with the transfer of people, only in the last 6 months has released several developments for the transport of products, including “Eats” for the gastronomic segment and “Flash” for other types of packages.

“Flash emerged as a way of adapting to how cities were behaving: with people stopping moving but still needing to move things from one place to another, from food to materials, “Felipe Fernández Aramburu, Regional Head of the company for the Southern Cone, explained to Télam.

Since its launch, more than 247,000 users requested trips with Flash, a service that is available in the AMBA and in 8 urban conglomerates in the interior.

“We are a company that exists in the world of logistics, but the added value is technology. We put a lot of focus on the experience of the user, the driver, and the added value we give is how do you go about intermediating with that technology. You ask for something and you can track where you are going, you can share that link with the person who receives it, that is an added value, “said Fernández Aramburu.

The increase in demand, the entry of more workers and the landing of more delivery app companies seem to speak of a growing and expansive business space in which mergers are also recorded.

“We believe that there is a very great opportunity in Argentina and that belief is reflected in the actions we are taking. The expansions to the cities of the interior are the beginning of the focus we have for the country: a product and a significant value offer for those who want to move or for those who need to generate income, “he added.

An example of business mergers is the resounding purchase-sale between Glovo and Delivery Hero (the company behind Orders Ya), which was not limited to the Argentine market but the positions of the first in Brazil and Mexico.

“This occurs in a platform economy that is still leveraged by venture capital. To these capitals, for now, the companies cannot demonstrate economic profit but they can show expansion. They can’t advertise yields, but show that they grow in users, in volumes“Ottaviano commented.

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