Retail sales are migrating to the internet at an accelerated pace -- and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) stands to benefit.
So says Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak. On Monday, Nowak reiterated his "overweight" rating on Amazon's shares and raised his target price from $2,600 to $2,800. His new target implies potential gains of approximately 14% for investors, based on Amazon's current price of $2,463.
Nowak says stay-at-home orders enacted to combat the spread of COVID-19 are leading more people to shop online, while stimulus checks are helping to fuel purchases.
"2020 is setting up to be an e-commerce inflection year as the combination of shelter-in-place, lower spend on experiences (dining out, bars, travel, etc.), and government stimulus has driven dollars online," Nowak said.
Nowak sees shoppers transitioning from stocking up on food and other household essentials during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic to a wider variety of goods in recent weeks. He expects these trends to fuel the growth of e-commerce in the coming months. In turn, he's now forecasting online retail sales to grow by 25% in 2020.
There's little doubt that Amazon is well positioned to profit from these trends. The e-commerce juggernaut dominates digital sales in the U.S. and many other areas of the world. And anything that leads more people to shop from home rather than in physical retail stores tends to benefit Amazon.
For these reasons, Amazon's stock is an attractive investment today. Moreover, Nowak's new $2,800 price target may prove to be conservative, as the company's shares could easily surpass that figure in the year ahead.