The coronavirus pandemic has shaken and defined economic conditions this year. Social-distancing measures and mask-wearing requirements have hampered retail and restaurant industries. Tourism businesses and airlines have never faced so much uncertainty. The auto industry looks primed for a sustained downturn amid weaker economic conditions, and energy and commodities markets have seen staggering volatility. These are just some of the ways that coronavirus has disrupted the business world, but not all businesses are suffering.
Some companies were actually well-positioned to thrive amid the unprecedented conditions that are shaping the year. CrowdStrike (CRWD 0.99%) and Shopify (SHOP 0.92%) stand out as prime examples. Here's why these two industry leaders have crushed the market in 2020 and are on track to continue thriving over the long term.
Cybersecurity specialist CrowdStrike had its initial public offering in June 2019, and it's posted stellar performance since its market debut. The company's stock price has roughly tripled since hitting the market at $34 per share, and its valuation has soared amid 2020's shifting business landscape.
While the S&P 500 index is roughly flat on the year after rebounding from coronavirus-related sell-offs, CrowdStrike stock has more than doubled across the same stretch.
The company now has a market capitalization of roughly $22 billion and trades at 28.5 times this year's expected earnings. That's a highly growth-dependent valuation, but the business is expanding at a rapid clip, and CrowdStrike's market-leading solutions to critical security problems put it in a good position to capitalize on surging demand for cybersecurity protections.
Networks and online workspaces can have a range of internal bulwarks put in place, but organizations still need a way to ensure that the user devices connecting to these portals aren't creating vulnerabilities that open the door for dangerous exploits. CrowdStrike's software helps protect endpoint devices and networks by monitoring the status of connected computers, mobile devices, and other hardware. The company's machine-learning tech helps detect the presence of bad actors and maintain the health and integrity of networks.
Cyberattacks are soaring, and the importance of protecting valuable data will only increase as more communications are conducted through online channels. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated this trend, with work, schooling, and other essential activities being shifted to the internet and heightening the need for strong cybersecurity protections. The uncertain economic climate has many businesses dialing back on growth initiatives, but CrowdStrike is thriving because strong digital security has never been more important, and enterprises can't afford to be without it.
Shopify has been one of the year's best-performing large-cap stocks, and it's posted big gains thanks to surging demand for e-commerce services. The impressive run has allowed Shopify to surpass Royal Bank of Canada to become Canada's most-valuable company.
The Toronto-based e-commerce services leader now has a market capitalization of roughly $148.5 billion and trades at a whopping 50.5 times this year's expected sales. That valuation reflects investors' belief that Shopify has built a best-in-class service suite and a network advantage that will allow it to continue playing a driving role in the growth of e-commerce.
Strong results and smart business moves are bolstering bullish sentiment. Shopify's software services for launching and growing online retail stores were enjoying strong momentum before COVID-19, and these offerings have only become more valuable as the pandemic has altered business operations and consumer behavior. The company has seen heightened engagement on its platform amid shutdowns and operational shifts for brick-and-mortar retail outlets, and many analysts anticipate that consumers will remain more inclined to do their shopping online even after cautionary measures have been lifted.
The introduction of promising new features, an expanding partner ecosystem, and spiking engagement mean that the Shopify's future has never looked brighter. The company's sales climbed 47% year over year in its March quarter and that reporting period included a relatively limited impact from coronavirus-driven engagement spikes.
New store creation on the platform soared 62% year over year across the period spanning March 13 through April 24, and daily engagement on the platform was trending at levels comparable to what's seen during Black Friday weekend. Shopify is flourishing because it's executing at a high level and providing the right product at the right time.
Investors will get a detailed update on the business when the company publishes its second-quarter earnings on Wednesday, July 29, and it's likely that management will have impressive performance to report. Shopify is at the forefront of helping businesses of all sizes grow and compete in an increasingly online-driven enterprise world, and the stock should have room to run as long as that's the case.