The uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic led to significant changes in consumer spending habits. The personal savings rate jumped to a record level, as people put cash away for a rainy day.
If you've got $2,000 that you don't plan on spending for a long time, then it's an especially good time to think about stocks you could buy and maybe never sell. Let's look at what makes Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) two stocks worth holding forever.
Walt Disney is bringing its parks back online
Disney announced plans to reopen Disney World on July 11 and Disneyland on July 17. Its park in Shanghai already opened in May with encouraging signs of customer ticket purchases. Still, the parks will need to be constrained to a limited percentage of capacity to allow for physical distancing.
Importantly, the segment that includes Disney parks generated 45% of total operating income for the company in 2019. The pent-up demand and the ability for the company to raise prices should allow the segment to eventually return to pre-pandemic profit levels.
Disney's content library is best-in-class and durable. Movies that were released decades ago are still relevant today. For instance, Disney's Beauty and the Beast was originally released in 1991 as an animated feature. In 2017, the live-action remake made over $1.2 billion at the box office.
Moreover, Disney has 25 films that have generated over a billion dollars in box-office revenue, with seven of those released in 2019. Further, it has the Star Wars and Marvel franchises, which between them have eight movies that eclipsed $1 billion in box-office revenue in the last four years. These high-value assets give the company a sustainable competitive advantage.
Disney+ already has over 50 million subscribers and is not finished with its international expansion. The streaming service launched in Japan this month and is rolling out in more countries throughout the rest of the year. Although not yet profitable, the service is generating troves of data that the company can use to optimize its content creation schedule.
When investing in a company for the long term, I like to consider if the company's products and services will be around for the next 10 or 20 years. In this case, it's probable that parents will be taking their kids to Disney parks and introducing them to Disney movies for a long time.
Amazon.com is surging during the pandemic
Over the last five years, Amazon grew sales at a rapid pace, and it has the potential to continue that streak. Between 2014 and 2019, its revenue went from $89 billion to $280 billion. Amazon is benefiting from customer shopping moving from brick and mortar retail stores to online. The shift is likely to continue, and maybe at an accelerated pace, as the coronavirus pandemic makes people reduce trips to the store.
The pandemic created a surge in orders for Amazon. Increasing customer engagement will likely result in some of those customers sticking around for the long term, a portion of them even becoming Prime members. In 2019, 65% of shoppers on Amazon had Prime memberships.
The company has a loyal base of 150 million Prime members worldwide. These members not only pay a monthly or annual premium, but they also shop more than non-members do. Included with a Prime membership is the streaming service Prime Video. With the soaring demand for in-home entertainment, it makes becoming a Prime member an even more attractive value.
Finally, its highly profitable Amazon Web Services cloud computing segment is growing revenue faster than the company. In the most recent quarter, AWS grew at 33%, while overall revenue grew at 29%. Importantly, even though AWS only made up 13.5% of the total sales for Amazon in the quarter, it generated 77% of operating income.
What this means for investors
The pandemic has caused significant disruptions at Disney and Amazon. Even though stay-at-home orders led more people to shop on Amazon, profit margins were squeezed because of adjustments the company had to make in response. Disney had to shut down some lucrative operations entirely and is only now announcing the return of some of those businesses.
The risk remains that another surge of infections could cause more disruptions. That's why it's important that the $2,000 you invest will not be needed for a few years. But the long-term potential returns are worth taking the risk on these well-established winners.