What happened

Shares of Grab Holdings (GRAB 0.57%) plunged 39.2% in March, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The food delivery business, which used to focus on ridesharing, has seen its share price cut by more than half since the beginning of the year.

A person in a city holds up their arm to hail a taxi.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Grab released a strong set of numbers for its fiscal full-year 2021 ended Dec 31, 2021. Revenue jumped by 44% year over year to $675 million as gross merchandise value (GMV) climbed by 29% year over year to $16.1 billion. Although monthly transacting users, or MTUs, dipped by 2% year over year due to continued COVID-19 lockdowns in Asia, Grab's GMV per MTU improved by 33% year over year to $666.

Despite the encouraging numbers, investors were spooked by the sharp increase in consumer incentives doled out by the company to encourage customers to use Grab's app. Partner and consumer incentives rose by 15% and 73% year over year, respectively, to $717 million and $1.1 billion. The higher incentives deepened Grab's net loss to $3.55 billion, up from $2.7 billion a year ago. Investors were also rightfully concerned about the company's fourth-quarter numbers, which saw revenue plunge by 44% year over year to $122 million. The fall seemed to indicate that growth may be elusive for the company as it grapples with stiff competition across Asia.

Now what

Grab continues to work on building its presence and market share across Asia. In Singapore, Grab has partnered with McDonald's to accept GrabPay, Grab's electronic wallet service, as a payment option islandwide. In Southeast Asia, Grab has partnered with Starbucks to connect in-store and digital experiences through Grab's app to deliver a better experience for Starbucks customers. 

Back in January, the company acquired a majority stake in Jaya Grocer, a mass-premium supermarket chain in Malaysia. Both companies announced the rollout of GrabPay and GrabRewards, Grab's loyalty program, across all of Jaya's physical retail stores. The purchase is in line with Grab's belief that the online grocery market in Southeast Asia is set to grow to $50 billion in GMV as penetration rates today remain low at just 2%. Assuming a 10% penetration rate similar to advanced economies, this implies that there is significant upside for Grab's GMV growth.