The video-first unified communication company's quarterly revenue soared 78% year over year to $188.3 million, easily beating the $176.6 million Wall Street consensus estimate. Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) more than tripled to $0.15. This result crushed the analyst expectation, which was $0.07.
Since its initial public offering (IPO) in April, Zoom is now 4-for-4 in sailing by Wall Street's quarterly profit expectations.
Moreover, the company also issued first-quarter and full-year fiscal 2021 guidance that was better than analysts had been projecting.
In 2020, Zoom stock is up 58% through Friday, March 13. That performance is even stronger than it might initially seem given that the S&P 500 (including dividends) is down 15.7% so far this year.
Shares have been getting a brisk tailwind from the fast-spreading novel coronavirus, as investors have been betting the COVID-19 pandemic will boost demand for Zoom's videoconferencing products. Not surprisingly, this topic took center stage during the company's earnings webinar with analysts. Here's what you should know.
1. Coronavirus has driven an "uptick in usage" of the company's products
From CFO Kelly Steckelberg's remarks:
For Q4, we did not see any impact [to our business results] directly related to coronavirus. As a reminder, we have definitely seen an uptick in usage. But a lot of that is on the free side. So it's very early to tell whether or not that's going to convert long term into paying customers.
It's prudent that Zoom management doesn't want to count its chickens before they hatch. But it seems a no-brainer that at least some of the businesses and other entities that are using the company's free offerings as a means to mitigate the effects of the pandemic will eventually convert to paid users.
This health crisis clearly demonstrates the need for entities large and small to have reliable and robust tools available for their workforces to be able to communicate and collaborate when working remotely.
2. Zoom has directed its HQ employees to work from home -- just as many other companies have
From CEO Eric Yuan's remarks:
Given the recent emergence and growing number of coronavirus cases in the United States, we have directed our headquarter (HQ) employees to work from home, unless there is a business-critical need for them to be in the office. We're taking this step out of abundance of caution.
This quote is illustrative of a much bigger picture: In order to help keep their employees safe and to help impede the spread of the coronavirus, employers across the country are increasingly directing their employees who can work from home to do so.
Moreover, many schools and universities are shifting to online instruction of their students. Not all have such capabilities, however. It seems reasonable to assume that some of them will decide to become paid Zoom users at some point to improve their remote learning capabilities.
3. Fiscal-year 2021 gross margin is likely to take a small hit from the coronavirus
From Steckelberg's remarks:
Due to the coronavirus, we have already seen significant usage of our platform and accordingly we will expand our capacity to meet the increased demands of both paid and free users. For FY'21, we believe our [adjusted] gross margins will be at the lower end of our long-term target of 80% to 82%.
For context, Zoom's adjusted gross margin in the third and fourth quarters were 82.9% and 84.2%, respectively.
Investors should't be the least bit concerned. A modest dip in the gross margin from increasing capacity should be more than compensated for by the increase in paid business that it seems poised to generate stemming from the pandemic.