As growth investors we have to be a little bit like Rip Van Wrinkle. We must try to imagine the world 25 years from now. A world that’s not completely different but a little bit better – then find the companies that are in the middle of that change.
As the world’s largest eCommerce company, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is in the middle of this change as the company single-handedly rearranges the face of retail.
Why it’s a core stock
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is completely changing the way we shop in three ways:
First – As an on-line retailer Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is completely free from the traditional limits of brick-and-mortar companies. Rather than practice the art of merchandising by trying to appeal to the average consumer, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) can simply supply everything to everyone.
Second – The advent of chain department stores eliminated the personal relationship between the customer and the merchant. But that’s not the case online. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has the ability to collect useful information about each shopper though their transactions and develop a personalized shopping experience.
Third – Tablets and smartphones makes shopping instant. Today, consumers are starting to make purchases from their mobile device the second a need arises rather than adding it to a shopping list for a later date. With the best mobile apps, consumers are turning to Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) first. This is the ultimate impulse purchase and it’s a new frontier for retail.
Of course, eCommerce has been discussed since the advent of the internet but many investors still fail to recognize the category’s potential. According to estimates provided by eMarketer, U.S. eCommerce sales will total $260 billion in 2013 and is projected to grow to $434 billion by 2017. Already, eCommerce accounts for 6.0% of total retail sales and some analysts think this figure could hit as high as 20%.
Amazon is the single best stock to play this secular growth trend with the company accounting for 15% of U.S. eCommerce sales in 2012. Amazingly, Amazon is actually gaining market share as sales grow three times faster than the category as a whole.
This is the network effect in action! Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is a bigger retailer because it’s better. Amazon is a better retailer because it’s bigger. Over time growth will allow the company to achieve the scale necessary to ensure its position as the lowest cost provider and foil future disruptors that attempt to copy its business model.
Risks to out watch for
Of course, when dealing with such an aggressive growth stock, there’re a host of challenges investors need to keep a close eye on. The most important of which is competition.