• Amazon Key now delivers packages to customers’ cars—an additional service to the Key program, which also drops off packages inside of Prime Members’ homes with the help of an internet-connected door lock and camera. Free for Prime members, the car delivery option is a more secure method for shoppers to receive packages away from home, operating similarly to the Amazon lockers at select Whole Foods locations. It’s also a new way for Amazon to compete with Alphabet Inc., which acquired a smart home services company called Nest in 2014. Up next? Amazon is allegedly developing a smart home robot, or “mobile Alexa.”
  • More online grocery shoppers choose Amazon over Walmart, but Walmart’s efforts to improve its grocery program—expanding its in-store pickup and delivery options—are paying off: approximately 21% of online grocery shoppers at Walmart said they do “all,” “almost all” or “most” of their grocery shopping there, compared to 12% at Amazon. In the meantime, Amazon has its sights set on other markets; in the next five years, it wants to take AmazonFresh to India, where 100 million people now have access to Amazon Pantry and in some places, to Amazon Now’s two-hour delivery service.
  • Amazon gave Best Buy exclusive rights to sell its new smart Fire TVs at its brick-and-mortar locations, online and as a third-party seller on Amazon—a first for Best Buy. Though the deal is advantageous for both parties, it solves a big problem for Best Buy, which has taken great pains to reverse the number of consumers who use its stores as showrooms and then purchase products online from other retailers. But this new deal will keep customers shopping at Best Buy instead of going elsewhere.
  • Amazon inked a multi-year deal with the NBA to live broadcast the NBA 2K League—a video game—on Amazon Twitch. The venture is likely to pay off as the esports industry—valued at $700 million in 2017—continues to grow, and live sports broadcasts attract more young viewers, which comprise much of Twitch’s 15 million daily active users.
  • Amazon may surpass Walmart as the top U.S. apparel retailer in 2018. After achieving 1.5% of the apparel market share in 2017, it is now in second place—a spot that Amazon attributes to its more than 100 million Prime members, who can also purchase from a growing list of the company’s private-label apparel brands.
  • Home Depot plans to hire more than 1,000 employees in 2018 to beef up its technology services and compete with Amazon. The influx to its tech staff is just one of Home Depot’s recent initiatives tied to a $11.1 billion strategic investment plan that also seeks to streamline its ecommerce, delivery and in-store checkout services.