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🛏️ Changes at Airbnb

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If you missed the blood moon earlier this morning, mark your calendar — the next full lunar eclipse is scheduled for March 14, 2025.

In today’s email:

  • China: Taking US ecommerce by storm.
  • Chart: The fall of Carvana.
  • Airbnb: Some long-awaited updates.
  • Around the Web: Niagara Falls’ tunnel, finding motivation, time quotes, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Jacob and Rob break down the influx of Chinese ecommerce companies, the rise and fall of Carvana, Amazon’s electric fleet, and more.

The big idea
China

In fashion: Chinese ecommerce on US shores

Selling things for cheap has long been a winning strategy for Chinese retailers.

Now, with inflation persisting, Chinese ecommerce companies are increasingly moving operations stateside to better serve their American patrons.

Leading the way…

… is Shein, a fast-fashion retailer that’s now the ninth most popular apparel brand among Gen Z women, per Morning Consult.

  • The company is on track for $24B in sales this year, and saw US sales grow 43% YoY in Q1. For comparison, H&M’s sales dropped 10%, per Bloomberg.

Shein is popular for its ultra-low-priced, trendy clothing. One caveat? Shipping from China means 10- to 15-day waits. Shein is now looking to reduce that number by setting up US distribution centers focused on basics and seasonal items.

  • Analysts question whether this will force Shein to raise prices, as bulk-shipping Chinese items will draw tariff charges and risk inventory challenges.

Shein has drawn criticism for its environmental impact and labor issues, including 18-hour workdays. With a larger US presence, criticism could grow.

Elsewhere…

… TikTok is hiring for dozens of roles to help build US fulfillment centers “from scratch.” The roles are based in Seattle — wink wink, Amazon.

Another app, Temu, recently became the most downloaded shopping app in the US, offering dirt-cheap prices on Chinese products.

A quick search on the app, and you’ll find sneakers, bike helmets, and sweaters for less than $10 each. No wonder its Chinese sibling, Pinduoduo, has 730m+ users.

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TRENDING
eyeball wearing a hat

Wow: A Philadelphia man went viral after eating a full rotisserie chicken 40 days in a row. Fans cheered as he polished off the final bird at an abandoned pier in South Philly.

SNIPPETS

Twitter’s daily user growth has reportedly hit all-time highs under Elon Musk, according to documents obtained by The Verge.

Amazon’s fleet of 1k+ Rivian EVs has delivered 5m+ packages since rolling out in July. The company expects to have 100k on the road by 2030.

The US Dept. of Justice said it seized $3.36B+ in stolen bitcoin during a 2021 raid of James Zhong’s Georgia home. It’s the department’s second-largest financial seizure ever.

Deal: Walgreens-backed VillageMD is buying Summit Health and its network of medical practices and urgent care centers in an $8.9B deal.

An iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China, is operating at reduced capacity amid covid restrictions; customers could see longer iPhone 14 wait times.

Swedish engineers developed the first crash test dummy modeled on the average woman. Current tests for women’s safety just use a smaller version of a male dummy.

Copywriting gold: We collected 150+ templates for copywriting and content creation to kickstart stunning social media marketing posts.

🚨New video alert 🚨Check out our latest YouTube drop to learn about why expensive housing prices aren’t actually good for most real estate agents.

Chart
Carvana chart
Singdhi Sokpo Tweet this Image

What happened to Carvana?

A vending machine for cars is one of those crazy business ideas that sounds fake — until you spot one on the side of the highway.

Carvana has 34 vending machines across the US, and the glass structures can hold anywhere from ~20 to ~40 vehicles.

When in-person shopping slowed during the pandemic, Carvana’s online business boomed, pushing its stock from $29.35 in March 2020 to $360.98 in August 2021.

But what goes up, must come down

Just over a year later, Carvana’s stock is down 98% from its 2021 highs, and some analysts believe bankruptcy is inevitable.

What’s to blame?

  • First, the easing of covid restrictions has led consumers to shop in person again.
  • Second, despite used car prices falling, higher interest rates have made it harder to finance a car, draining demand.

As a result, Carvana’s vending machines aren’t churning through cars like they used to, and could end up being a monument to a future that was ahead of its time.

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No More Laundry
laundry

Airbnb guests don’t want to pay to do chores

Airbnb once offered affordable travel that made you feel like a local.

Now, prices — and cleaning fees — often exceed those of hotels, while faceless serial hosts are more likely to leave a lockbox code and a list of chores than sightseeing tips.

Yes. Chores and a cleaning fee.

Can Airbnb get back to the good ol’ days?

On Monday, Airbnb announced changes in response to inflation, a possible recession, and “growing guest frustration with prices, cleaning fees, and checkout instructions.”

  • Starting next month, guests can choose to see listings’ total prices upfront — including fees but excluding taxes — when they search.
  • Airbnb’s algorithms will also prioritize total price.
  • In 2023, hosts will get new pricing tools — though Airbnb didn’t say what they are.
  • In the coming months, guests will be able to see checkout instructions prior to booking and leave feedback on them.

According to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, reasonable checkout tasks include tossing out food, shutting off lights, and locking up. Vacuuming and laundry? Not so much.

Will it help?

Displaying cleaning fees doesn’t necessarily lower them, though hosts may choose to do so to remain competitive.

But considering Airbnb reported $2.9B in revenue in Q3, its highest quarter ever and up 29% YoY, people haven’t been choosing hotels in droves — yet.

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AROUND THE WEB

🦴 On this day: In 1895, German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered X-rays by accident while testing whether cathode rays could pass through glass.

📚 Haha: This website tells you the time using quotes from books.

🌊 Wow: There’s a 2.2k-foot-long tunnel under Niagara Falls that people can now visit.

✨ How to: Get motivated and stay motivated.

🦐 Aww: And now, put the shrimp in the bowl.

Meme
meme

So, anyway… follow us on Twitter.

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Winner winner chicken dinner” Dent.

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