E-commerce giant Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has delivered returns of more than 60% to investors throughout the past year. With online shopping more popular than ever, many investors may be questioning whether AMZN stock could still be a growth play.
Amazon has rapidly increased sales each year, and while that kind of expansion is more difficult to come by … no. Amazon’s impressive growth isn’t over yet. Nor are the breakneck gains in AMZN stock.
Here are three reasons why.
E-Commerce Is Just Getting Started
It might seem like e-commerce has completely taken over the retail space as more and more stores abandon their brick-and-mortar formats and shift toward online selling. However, data from the Census Bureau shows the industry is still in the early stages. In the fourth quarter of 2016, e-commerce sales made up just 8.3% of total retail sales. So yes, e-commerce is expanding rapidly, but there’s so, so much room for companies like Amazon to expand.
And AMZN is well-suited to grab this market share because it still continues to look for new ways to expand its offerings. Amazon has recently pushed its way into clothing, food delivery, flower delivery, and even hand-made goods.
The firm’s dedication to becoming a one-stop shop for everything a person might shop for online is impressive and suggests that AMZN stock will continue to push forward.
Growth in the Cloud
Perhaps the most compelling reason to put AMZN stock in the growth category is the firm’s cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Amazon has already established itself as the No. 1 player in the cloud computing market, which itself is on its way to becoming a massive industry. The company’s positioning bodes well for future growth.
Amazon Web Services has been expanding exponentially on a yearly basis — the firm’s fourth-quarter results showed that AWS sales were up 47% from a year earlier and $300 million from the quarter before. That is some jaw-dropping growth.
AWS still only makes up about 8% of Amazon’s overall revenue, but it’s a powder keg for profits thanks to its high-margin nature — exactly why some were worried about AWS’ recent outage.
Considering the low-margin nature of the rest of Amazon’s businesses, Amazon Web Services’ growth is critical to AMZN stock.
While it may seem counterintuitive, brick-and-mortar retail is another place where AMZN could drive some big-time growth.
Amazon is working to increase its physical presence with new store formats that allow customers to come in for a physical — but still unorthodox — shopping experience.
One of AMZN’s most promising brick-and-mortar ventures is Amazon Go — a physical store that boasts no lines and no checkouts.
Customers download the Amazon Go app and then are free to enter the store and choose whatever items they want. Amazon has developed “Just Walk Out Technology” which is able to detect what products have been taken or returned to shelves. That means when customers are ready, they can simply walk out of the store and their Amazon account will be charged.
Amazon Go is still in the early stages, but if it rolls out more broadly, it could create a brand-new type of shopping experience.
E-commerce has caused many big-name stores to reduce their store footprints, but Amazon is working from the other direction. Setting up shop in meaningful locations with specific formats could actually be a major for growth for AMZN stock.
Bottom Line for AMZN Stock
Amazon has ingrained itself so deeply into the retail mindset that customers are increasingly turning to Amazon for all their household products. Not only that, but Amazon has been quick to adapt as the market evolves, putting the firm in a great position to continue delivering stellar growth well into the future.
If you think the growth in AMZN stock is over, think again.
As of this writing, Laura Hoy was long AMZN.