These businesses have generated market-beating returns in the past, but that was in a rampant bull market. Can they sustain this growth in the future?
Each of these companies has been richly valued by traditional metrics as well as rewarded shareholders handsomely. We investigate how each is evolving in the current climate and the potential for growth.
The social media giant is a household name that continues to grow, primarily through several cunning acquisitions such as Instagram and WhatsApp. The 2.36 billion daily active users — nearly one-third of the world’s population — and $670 billion market cap show the sheer size of Facebook (NASDAQ: FB).
Facebook’s total revenue in the last quarter was up 18% year-over-year, which is a good growth rate for a company of its size but still lower than in previous quarters. However, Facebook did not provide guidance for the next quarter due to COVID-19 and also stated that ad revenue remained flat in April despite an increase of 17% on this time a year ago.
For Facebook to continue its growth it has recently announced a strategic partnership with Shopify (NYSE: SHOP) creating “Shops”. This provides an entrance to the growing e-commerce market where Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is the dominant force. This feature will allow users to set up a digital shop on both Facebook and Instagram. Facebook will charge a small fee from the sales, but the primary revenue will come from additional spend on advertising. This seems to be a wise move following on from Facebook Marketplace, where users or “influencers” could buy and promote products on Instagram. They have also acquired Giphy for a reported fee of $400 million in a move which has been widely regarded as a data grab, although Facebook has rejected this claim.
Having successfully monetized Instagram, there is room left to grow with WhatsApp and Messenger as well as with other acquisitions and partnerships. This tech giant remains a relatively safe investment.
2. The Trade Desk
The Trade Desk (NASDAQ: TTD) is the leader in programmatic advertising, allowing ad buyers to optimize data-driven ad campaigns across a number of channels.
Unlike many of the other tech companies, The Trade Desk is profitable while maintaining a high growth rate and investing in technology to stay ahead of the competition. This “sustainable” growth has left them in a position to weather the current storm and prosper into the future. Like many, The Trade Desk has been affected by the current climate, with many companies putting advertising on hold. However, companies like Uber (NYSE: UBER) and Lyft (NASDAQ: LYFT) are likely to dramatically increase their spending in advertising to gain market share after the crisis, which will undoubtedly benefit The Trade Desk. CEO and founder Jeff Green suspects that this scenario is likely to follow across many industries.
Its customer retention rate has remained at 95% for the last five years, demonstrating the stickiness of the platform. Revenue was up 33% in Q1 2020, albeit with a decline in the second half of the quarter. It did not provide guidance for the second quarter, but Green believes the current crisis will act as a catalyst for the industry and can accelerate growth as the overall market improves.
There is plenty of room for growth as advertising changes from a more traditional to a data-driven approach, and The Trade Desk is at the forefront of this shift.
Shopify has been on an incredible run since going public in 2015 and is emerging as a serious competitor to Amazon. Shopify has benefited greatly from COVID-19, and the Chief Technology Officer tweeted that they were “handling Black Friday level traffic every day!”.
Shopify powers over 1 million businesses globally, allowing merchants to set up digital stores for a subscription fee. Shopify has established a strong brand and continues to attract new customers with a 62% increase between March and April compared to the prior six weeks. Much of Shopify’s merchants are small and medium-sized businesses, which could pose a threat to their growth. However, COVID-19 has accelerated the shift to e-commerce with the shift to digital sales growing more in the last two months than in the previous 14 years according to Refinitiv.
Shopify had another strong quarter, with revenue growing by 47% and subscription solutions revenue growing by 34%. Despite this growth, Shopify remains unprofitable, re-investing heavily in its business. Shopify, although it’s richly valued remains a good pick for long term investors who can stomach volatility.
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