If there's one thing you can count on from Wall Street, it's repetitious analysis of big tech news.
A steady, predictable stream of stories quoting analysts about the "death of retail" followed the announcement.
Don't get me wrong – that's a big, ongoing story. It's one I wrote about in the past, as recently as May 23.
What they missed is how this is a boon for technology: mobile commerce, Big Data, machine vision and learning, chips, sensors… and especially robots.
Robots already are all over Amazon's warehouses and are a big part of its success.
Now they'll be in Whole Foods' warehouses, checkout lines, and maybe even a part of making deliveries.
You could buy Amazon – and I recommend you do establish a position if you haven't yet – but that'll cost you.
You could buy a robotics stock, but that will only scratch the surface.
Or you could make this one move and get at least double the market's return…
Automation Is Coming
I was excited when I woke up to news of the Amazon-Whole Foods merger. However, I was focused on the logistics and tech angles that financial analysts evidently forgot.
While Amazon picks up the massive list of gourmet items and devoted shoppers at Whole Foods' 460 retail outlets, it also acquired access to all those stores' freezers and storage rooms.
With localized cold storage, Amazon can truly make good on its promise of same-day delivery of not just groceries but also many other goods.
Even better, most of these stores are close to wealthy ZIP codes. I see these folks as the most likely early adopters of "unmanned" deliveries.
Amazon is already pioneering drone-based deliveries. And small robotic delivery vehicles could be next.
Beyond those are the in-house robotics and automation plays. Under CEO Jeff Bezos, Amazon has pushed these two areas like few companies have.
Robotic handlers and sorters could be a huge boon to the grocery sector, by cutting costs and beefing up the notoriously thin margins. As such, the Amazon deal will be a great case study in the value of the robotics revolution. This is a fertile field to be sure.
Research firm Allied Market Research predicts the global robotics market will grow at an average compound rate of 10% through the end 2020, when the sector will have a value of $82.7 billion.
The firm notes that robots are finding use in a wide range of sectors. Auto assembly takes the top market share, accounting for about 39% of sales growth. Electronics follows with 20%.
About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is one of the top financial analysts working today. His book "Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings" was a prescient look at the anatomy of the nation's S&L crisis, long before the word "bailout" became part of our daily lexicon. He's a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter, lauded by the Columbia Journalism Review for his aggressive style. His 30-year track record as a leading tech analyst has garnered him rave reviews, too. Today he is the editor of the monthly tech investing newsletter Nova-X Report as well as Radical Technology Profits, where he covers truly radical technologies – ones that have the power to sweep across the globe and change the very fabric of our lives – and profit opportunities they give rise to. He also explores "what's next" in the tech investing world at Strategic Tech Investor.