One of the hottest stocks in 2019 has been e-commerce solutions provider Shopify (NYSE:SHOP). Year to date, SHOP stock is up more than 105%. That means the stock has more than doubled through five months, and it has done so despite multiple analyst downgrades, a few big bear calls from investors and short-sellers, and broader market turbulence from escalating U.S.-China trade tensions.
In other words, Shopify stock has acted somewhat invincible over the past several months, ignoring every headwind and instead powering higher because the growth trajectory here is just that good.
The next big level for this stock is $300.
Five months ago, that level seemed impossible for SHOP stock to reach. Now, it seems impossible for SHOP stock not to reach $300. Thus, the question here isn’t if Shopify stock will hit $300, it’s when.
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t a favorable one for shareholders in the near term. I’ve been the biggest bull on SHOP stock for a long time. But, my base case on this stock is a 2019 price target of $230. My bull case yields a 2019 price target of $350. Thus, even if you assume equal likelihood for both, a reasonably aggressive 2019 price target for SHOP stock is around $290.
Broadly, then, even as an ultra-bull, I’m not convinced that Shopify stock is fundamentally supported at $300 anytime soon. Indeed, I don’t think $300 is supported until early to mid 2020.
The investment takeaway? There’s no need to rush into the stock here. If you own it, let it run. If you don’t, let it drop. Either way, wait for this stock to come crashing back to reality before adding for the long run.
Shopify Is a Long-Term Winner
It’s important to understand that, in the big picture, Shopify stock is a long-term winner that will head way higher over the next five to ten years.
Shopify is pioneering a new era of direct decentralized commerce. Broadly, this means enabling any seller to sell any item to any buyer through any direct channel. This model which democratizes commerce and enables every seller to be every buyer, and every buyer to be every seller, produces optimal outcomes since it creates a world with greater and more diversified supply, on relatively stable demand. That implies lower prices, higher consumer convenience, and more diversified profits among a wider supplier base. See what Uber (NYSE:UBER) did to the transportation industry.
Thus, this model for direct decentralized commerce is the future. Shopify is not just the face of this model, but also the company behind the biggest and best solutions in this market.
In 2018, Shopify’s gross merchandise value (GMV) measured around 1.5% of global e-retail sales. That’s tiny. But, it’s up from 0.8% in 2016, and 1.1% in 2017. Over the next several years, as the direct decentralized commerce model gains traction and momentum, Shopify’s e-retail market share will continue to rise.
Further, the company is jumping into the offline retail scene. While success in that realm is thus far unproven, the potential for Shopify to replicate its online efforts in the offline channel is enormous.
Meanwhile, Shopify operates at sky-high 60%-plus gross margins, with an opex rate that is rapidly falling and already allowing for profits this early in the growth trajectory. Thus, at scale, Shopify will be a big revenue company with big margins and big profits, ultimately implying that SHOP stock has huge upside potential in a multi-year window.
$300 Isn’t Fundamentally Supported… Yet
Although SHOP stock has big upside potential in a long-term window, a lot of that upside potential has been realized in the short term.
The only way to look at Shopify stock is through a long-term lens, since the direct decentralized commerce pivot is still in its early stages. For my model, I look out to fiscal 2030. At that time, Shopify will have gained revenue and profit scale, and will likely look and act like a mature company, as opposed to the hyper-growth company it is today.
I have two scenarios for fiscal 2030. In my base case, I assume Shopify grows e-retail market share to 7.5%, with minimal offline revenue, 65% gross margins, and a 40% opex rate. Modeling all that out, my base case yields a 2030 EPS estimate of $20. Based on a big growth 30 forward multiple and a 10% discount rate, that equates to a 2019 price target for SHOP stock of $230.
Meanwhile, in my bull case, I assume Shopify grows e-retail market share to 10%, with material offline revenue, the same 65% gross margin, and a 35% opex rate from larger scale. Those assumptions yield a 2030 earnings-per-share estimate of $30, which, under the same math as above, equates to a 2019 price target of nearly $350.
Combining those two scenarios, I think the best way to look at Shopify is as a company with $25 EPS potential by 2030. Using the same math as above, that equates to a 2019 price target of $290. That’s exactly where SHOP stock trades today.
Consequently, a $300 price tag for Shopify stock doesn’t look fundamentally supported. Yet.
Bottom Line on SHOP Stock
Shopify stock has been red-hot for a reason — this company is dramatically growing share in the global e-retail market. It will remain red hot over the next several years for the same reason. Thus, you want to own this name for the long haul.
But, in the near-term, $300 could prove to a be top for this stock. The fundamentals are stretched here and the stock is overdue for a pullback. As such, investors looking to add should exercise patience. Buying right here, right now, may not be the best move.
As of this writing, Luke Lango was long SHOP and UBER.