When the carrots get home before you do [Westend61 via Getty Images]
A year ago today, violent rioters stormed the US Capitol, halting the certification of President Biden’s Electoral College win until lawmakers could safely complete the confirmation. A year later, nearly two-thirds of Americans believe US democracy is in crisis as concerns over misinformation continue.
Stocks plunged yesterday after the Fed suggested interest-rate hikes could happen when it finishes curbing its economy-boosting bond-buying in March. The tech-filled Nasdaq lost a whopping 3.3%. Meanwhile, the Grammys were postponed indefinitely on Omicron worries, while Chicago Public Schools canceled IRL classes.
Oat milk restocked while you’re at yoga… Walmart is doubling down on its “InHome” delivery option, which lets shoppers hire deliverers to drop perishables directly into their refrigerators while they’re out. Camera-wearing associates will even trek back for returns (wrong brand of almond butter). Walmart first launched direct-to-fridge in 2019, and has 6M customers in cities like Atlanta and DC. Last year it unveiled an outdoor "smart cooler" to keep groceries cold on your doorstep. Now…
Frozen-pizza delivery… Walmart wants the whole pie. For years, it has scaled its grocery biz with options like click-and-collect (order online, pick up curbside). Last year, Walmart sold over $250B in groceries, making it the world's largest grocer. Its delivery services now reach 70% of the US. But it has seen increasingly fierce competition from Amazon, Instacart, DoorDash, and Grubhub as shoppers doubled down on delivery during the pandemic. None of those rivals, though, have made the direct-to-fridge plunge.
The inventive bird gets the worm… In a saturated and ultra-competitive market, innovation is key to staying on top. The online grocery-delivery market is predicted to reach $93B by the end of the year, but fewer than half of all grocery consumers are loyal to just one store. Walmart’s differentiating with premium in-fridge delivery to add convenience value in a push to snag customers early.
Siri and Alexa’s favorite conference… This week, tech companies (cautiously) headed to the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas to show off their latest gadgets. This year’s event happened IRL after going virtual in 2021, but major players like Amazon, Google, and Meta opted to attend virtually because of Omicron. Some of the headliners:
Smarter wheels: GM introduced its first hands-free-driving system, and Daimler showed off a Mercedes EV with a record-breaking 648-mile range. Amazon and Google launched new operating systems for your car’s dash. John Deere showed off its first self-driving tractor, and Sony plugged plans to make its own EVs that feature PlayStation games.
Smarter wearables: Apple Watch has company. Movano demoed a ring that monitors heart rate and oxygen levels. Vivoo showed off a system that monitors nutrient levels through urine samples. Withings’ WiFi-connected scale measures heart rhythm and nerve activity, and Mojo Visions’ display-connected AR contacts could help athletes track their performance.
Smarter houses: Kohler introduced a $3K voice-controlled tub so that you can fill your bath while making pasta, Samsung rolled out a TV remote that recharges wirelessly with sunlight or WiFi waves, and Amazon released tools designed to let Alexa control smart devices made by rivals like Google and Apple (#hijacked).
To own the system, companies are getting smarter… Sales of connected hardware products like Ring doorbells and Fitbits bring in big sales for Amazon and Google. But smart products also give tech giants an opportunity to own the operating systems that power networks of gadgets. Think: Someone who uses Alexa to turn on their faucet (a real thing) is more likely to use Alexa to unlock their car or order groceries on Prime.
Authors of this Snacks own shares of: AT&T, Walmart, Google, Apple, Amazon, and GM