The winning streak is still running for Roku (ROKU 8.02%). Shares of the streaming video specialist have moved higher for seven consecutive trading days, soaring 35% in that time. There's a lot to like about what has become one of this year's hottest stocks, up a scorching 423% in 2019, but what happens when things aren't going so well?
The economy is buzzing along right now, and there's no shortage of disposable income for consumers to throw at streaming services. The tide will inevitably turn, and investors are boning up on how to prepare for a recession. Some stocks will hold up better than others, so let's see why Roku belongs in your recession-resistant portfolio.
1. Streaming is a money saver
Millennials aren't buying cars the way folks their age used to, and there are various theories to explain the trend. Millennials are generally staying single and childless longer, ignoring the call of the suburban wild, where a vehicle is essential. There's also the popularity of the internet filling the social and commercial gaps that used to require getting behind the wheel -- to spend time with friends and family and go shopping. Another consideration is financial, and if you ask young adults if they'd rather pay for smartphone service or make car payments, they would probably classify wireless service as the more important budget item of the two.
Laying the mobile priority argument over the video entertainment discourse, one would expect that millennials and even many older homeowners would give up their cable or satellite TV service before surrendering their broadband plan. Given the plethora of attractively priced or ad-supported streaming apps, it's never been easier to tell your cable provider that you're the one taking a hike this time.
Many families don't need to make a choice between pay TV and online connectivity, but when the economy starts to buckle, it will likely send even more people to Roku and its peers as gateways to the streaming realm.
2. Entertainment is comfort food
It's been more than a decade since the global financial crisis rocked economies and the stock market. It's not a surprise to learn that Netflix (NFLX 0.12%) was one of the handful of stocks to move higher in 2008, and that was when it was primarily a disc-mailing service.
Your local Blockbuster and nearest Redbox machine also didn't skip a beat during the downturn. There's a tendency to stay in when money's tight, and Roku is there to supersize your mobile and tablet streaming apps through the largest screen in your house.
Roku is already an integral part of the 32.3 million active accounts on Roku, an audience that has grown by 36% over the past year. These accounts are streaming an average of 3.4 hours of content a day. You can be sure the audience and engagement will grow the next time we bump up against a recession.
3. Content choices are a dinner bell
This has been a big month for premium services launching, and the narrative has largely been about what the competitive landscape means for Netflix and, to a lesser extent, established streaming platforms including YouTube, Prime Video, and Hulu. A lot of services making waves is great for Roku, as it profits from consumers signing up for new offerings through its hub.
Average revenue per user at Roku has risen 30% over the past year. Connected TV advertising and referral revenue are on the rise, and that will only intensify as the thousands of services available through any Roku device compete to get noticed. All roads seem to end in Roku's pocket, and it's hard to fathom a scenario in any economic setting where Roku isn't more prominent in a couple of years than it is right now.