The Next Big Theme: October 2020

The Next Big Theme: Thematic Newsletter Global X ETFs

Electric Vehicles

Tesla Goes Tabless

At Tesla’s 2020 Annual Shareholder Meeting and Battery Day, CEO Elon Musk announced that the company would begin manufacturing a new “tabless” battery design. The new battery design is larger and potentially more efficient that existing batteries, offering six times more power and 16% more range. What’s notable for consumers is that, according to Musk, these batteries could reduce costs by 14% per kWh, bringing the price of a Tesla closer to that of similar internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Tesla also plans to enter the lithium industry as a vertically integrated battery and EV manufacturer. As battery-grade lithium may become undersupplied in the future, this initiative could support Tesla’s ambitions to scale EV output.1 Catering to affordability, Tesla also announced its goal for developing a $25,000 car, which would allow EVs to compete in the mass market vehicle category.2


A Covid Test With Your Boarding Pass

To make passengers feel safe and help get them back flying again, some airlines started offering pre-flight COVID-19 testing for passengers. United Airlines started the movement and Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and American Airlines followed suit. Pre-flight testing could also allow travelers who test negative to limit or skip quarantine restrictions altogether at their destination.3 United rolled out testing on its San Francisco to Hawaii route, giving passengers the option to take a test at the airport or request a mail-in test several days before departure. Passengers must cover the cost of the test. Currently, a rapid in-airport test costs $250, and a mail-in test costs $80.4

Robotics & E-Commerce

New Colleagues: Robots and Humans

Autonomous forklift and robot-powered vehicle maker Seegrid Corp. secured $52 million in financing from Silicon Valley investors who see the company as poised for growth during the COVID era. Seegrid expects to scale operations as a surge in e-commerce has increased the importance of efficient warehouses. In August, warehousing and storage employment totaled a record high of 1.22 million workers.5 These warehouse jobs have been vital in helping to offset jobs lost during the pandemic.

Artificial Intelligence & Robotics

Toyota Lends the Elderly a Helping Hand

Researchers at Toyota experiment with initial prototypes of robots using machine learning to alleviate household chores. The cleaning robots currently live inside a mock home located at the Toyota Research Institute in Los Altos, California. A method used by the researchers to maximize space at home includes some of the robots even being attached to the ceiling.6 These household improvements could be considered the next step in the same niche category as Google’s smart home launch in 2016. Toyota hopes the product will not only aid elderly people around the house, but also eventually offer companionship. The expectation lies in expertise in car manufacturing being parlayed into more advanced robotics for homes and workplaces by Toyota.

Cloud Computing

Software’s Record-Breaking Public Debuts

The initial public offering (IPO) wave in the cloud computing industry continues. Cloud data warehousing company Snowflake (SNOW) recently recorded the largest software IPO ever. After pricing its IPO at $120, the price surged above $300 after listing, a 150% gain. The IPO brought the company nearly $3.4 billion after selling 28 million shares.7 Unity Software (U), a leading platform for video game developers, saw its shares jump 44% after going public on the NYSE at $75 per share.8 Asana (ASAN), a task management app, priced shares at $27 during the stock’s direct listing, higher than the NYSE’s reference price of $21. Similarly, shares of big data analytics specialist Palantir (PLTR) were 50% higher than their reference price about 30 minutes into trading.9

Health & Wellness

Technology Does a Body Good

Singapore recently partnered with Apple to launch a two-year health initiative called LumiHealth. The first-of-its-kind program intends to help Singaporeans improve their quality of life. As part of the voluntary app-based initiative, which includes personalized coaching, participants receive rewards for healthy activities and behaviors tracked on their Apple Watch. Rewards can total up to S$380 over the course of the program. Using technology to promote health continues a trend for both Singapore and Apple. Singapore was the first to release contact tracing in an effort to eradicate COVID-19. And last year, Apple collaborated with Stanford Medicine for the Apple Heart Study app, which uses data from Apple Watch to identify heat irregularities.10


The following charts examine returns and sales growth expectations by theme, based on their corresponding ETFs.



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