Russia’s Yandex has launched a rapid grocery delivery service in London — the latest expansion into Western markets for a major Russian technology firm.
The ultrafast delivery service will operate under the Yango Deli brand and offer delivery of more than 2,500 products in 15 minutes. The business model is based on the technology giant’s success in rolling out its Yandex Lavka grocery service across Russia, and follows launches in Israel and France as part of an international expansion.
Yandex, often referred to as “Russia’s Google,” was founded as a search portal in 1997 but has since expanded into a host of other industries, including fast food delivery, online retail, taxis, carsharing and self-driving vehicles.
The express grocery market has exploded in Russia over recent years, helped by the pandemic lockdowns, rise of online commerce and cheap labor costs that make the rapid delivery model viable.
Russian technology companies have been on an international expansion drive in recent months. Wildberries, the country’s largest online retailer, has launched in the EU’s four largest economies — Germany, France, Spain and Italy.
After being held back for years, Russia’s digital economy expanded significantly during the pandemic, analysts say — a rare bright spot in an economy which has struggled for growth in recent years.
In London, Yango Deli has launched four so-called dark stores — mini warehouses located in residential areas from where orders are dispatched — and will initially cover 1.4 million potential customers. The company said it will expand operations across the city in the coming months.
“The U.K., and London in particular, is an exciting new market for Yango Deli, as the city is especially well suited to the dark store model,” said Yevgeny Chernikov, head of Yango Deli U.K. “The densely populated capital is full of busy professionals, young students and many others who appreciate the convenience of a fast, stress-free shopping experience.”
Yandex added that it is lining up to launch its rapid grocery delivery service in other European cities.