Axon Enterprise (AXON 0.06%) has been one of the best stocks on the market so far in 2018, rising 133% in less than five months. There could be an even longer runway of growth for this company because of its efforts in continually improving how law enforcement professionals do their jobs.
Here's a look at the key metrics behind Axon Enterprise's business and why I think this is a great stock to own over the long term.
The booming taser and body camera business
In the last 12 months, Axon Enterprise has sold 117,986 body cameras, up 24% from a year earlier. What's great about the body camera business is that most sales come in the form of multiyear contracts that bundle services like cloud storage with Evidence.com, so this is a recurring source of revenue.
By the end of the first quarter of 2018, revenue backlog for body cameras and related services totaled $570.0 million, and 93% of the bookings so far in 2018 have been multiyear contracts. This is a product line that will drive Axon Enterprise's growth for years to come.
Taser weapons continue to perform well, too, with unit sales up 13% in the last 12 months to 163,142. For now, tasers are the biggest moneymaker, with $57.7 million in revenue and $20.2 million in operating income in the first quarter of 2018. Long term, body cameras, which generated $21.6 million in revenue last quarter, will likely grow and overtake tasers in size, but this is a great base product to build from.
New products could change law enforcement forever
As successful as tasers and body cameras are, they're only the start of Axon Enterprise's plan to become indispensable to law enforcement. Three new products in 2018 will ingrain the company more deeply into an officer's daily routine.
The first product to be introduced was Axon Fleet, a two-camera system that's installed in squad cars and can automatically upload video to the cloud when the car is in range of an Axon router. List price for the system is $129 per month per vehicle with additional revenue opportunities like a Wi-Fi server ($3,500) and Wi-Fi access point ($18,475). With 1,857 units already sold in 2018, this product is already gaining momentum in the market.
A holster product called Signal Sidearm has also been introduced and sold in limited quantities. The holster automatically turns on any body camera within a 30-foot range when a weapon is drawn, eliminating the need for an officer to manually turn on a camera. Standalone pricing isn't available, but Signal Sidearm is part of a package officers can buy for $109 per month that includes a body camera, taser, and unlimited data uploads to Evidence.com. These package deals are likely what Axon will push as a way to grow revenue per user in the future.
The third product is a records management system, called Axon Records, and it could change the way law enforcement does their work. Axon President Luke Larson recently called the product a:
breakthrough record management system built to fully integrate audio and video data and to leverage artificial intelligence to streamline report creation in addition to several game changing enterprise software add-ons.
The audio and video he's referring to is actions like recording interviews with witnesses, which can be done with the body camera. Artificial intelligence features then record data and transcribe a transcript, automatically uploading it to the cloud, reducing paperwork and errors in the field. If it's adopted on a broad level, it could make Axon Enterprise an essential part of each officer's workflow everyday.
Axon Enterprise is still a great buy
Investors who focus primarily on earnings won't think the stock looks like an attractive value given the fact that Axon is barely returning to profitability. But revenue has doubled in the last three years, and double-digit annual top-line growth seems likely for the foreseeable future. Given its leadership position in tasers, body cameras, and next-generation technology for law enforcement, I think this company is a great buy for investors over the long haul.