On Monday, Uber Eats introduced a new delivery category: “Babies and Children,” for parents in need of emergency diapers and thermometers.
It is the latest in a series of new verticals launched by Uber Technologies during the pandemic, including the delivery of groceries, prescriptions, alcohol and flowers.
Uber is partnering with national brands including buybuy BABY and Bed Bath & Beyond. They are also creating exclusive partnerships with direct-to-consumer companies, such as organic baby food brand Yumi.
From June to August, there were more than 20,000 searches for baby supplies on the Uber Eats app, including diapers, baby food and wipes, according to Beryl Sanders, head of the partnership for new verticals. for the United States and Canada for Uber Eats. “We were also hearing it internally from a lot of new parents,” Sanders said in a telephone interview. “In parenthood there is often an immediate need for a product. If your baby has a fever, you need this thermometer.
The online baby products industry will generate $ 9.9 billion in revenue in 2021, according to IBISWorld.
Sanders declined to comment on the specific amount the company spent on the category, except to say that a $ 200,000 donation to Baby2Baby, which provides basic necessities to children living in poverty, was the main one. Uber’s investment in the project.
The hub enters an area largely dominated by Amazon and other established grocery delivery services such as Instacart and FreshDirect.
“It’s going to be useful to the world of diapers,” says Conz Preti, parenting and health editor at online news site Insider. “It solves a real problem. “
She doubts it helps a key demographic: parents who can’t afford Uber Eats fees. “Uber eats [typically] comes at a higher price; there are so many costs, ”notes Preti. “Does that exclude a lot of parents who really need the service? “
Saunders says delivery charges will be the same as for restaurants on the platform, which typically range from $ 1 to $ 5, and that the products will represent a wide range of options, including those from national chains such as Walgreens and CVS.
She considers that Uber Eats is able to respond faster than competitors like Instacart. “You expect you to get it at some point, in two hours. Uber Eats was built on next hour delivery. In these cases, parents can’t wait, ”Saunders says. The availability of partners such as Honest and Little Spoon will vary depending on where customers live.
Despite internal enthusiasm for Baby and Kids, Saunders says it is not a major player in the delivery business of the company, which grossed $ 12.9 billion in the second quarter; the company reports its third quarter results on November 4. “We believe that grocery shopping, convenience and alcohol delivery are at the heart of our new verticals. Baby and Kids is a surprise product. She says it points to other categories to come as well. “We try to listen to the needs of consumers. We’re planning more surprises, focused on internal excitement and the amount of searches we see in the app. So you can get anything in 2022.