The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world. But it has also accelerated certain technological trends that investors should be tapped into. During lockdowns, consumers have turned to e-commerce, giving a huge boost to Amazon (AMZN 1.76%). But it's far from done expanding and investors can still get in today and enjoy price appreciation over the long-term.
ProShares' Executive Director of Thematic Investing Scott Helfstein sat down with The Motley Fool to dive into some of the intriguing stocks in their new ETF: ProShares MSCI Transformational Changes ETF (ANEW 0.54%). He shared plenty of tips that all kinds of investors can apply to their own portfolios.
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Corinne Cardina: Absolutely. I think we've gotten a taste of a lot of these things because of the circumstances, but something like telework, I've realized that my job can be done 100% remote. Something like telehealth, once you have been able to log onto a video and see your doctor from your couch, that may be something you're interested in doing even when there's not a pandemic just because you've experienced the convenience. I definitely see where you're going with that.
Scott Helfstein: Similarly across all these areas, another one is online retail and I imagine we'll want to jump into some of the names there, but we saw e-commerce as a percentage total retail sales go from 11%to 16%, and new numbers should be out at some point this week. But to give everybody context, it took 10 years to go from 5% to 11%. It took a decade to reach 11% penetration. Ten years. So for all the people who think that Amazon is taking over everything, all of e-commerce is still only 16% of the pie. That doesn't suggest to me that all of a sudden, it's going to go back to 11. There's a whole lot more that it's going to capture and so it's just going to expand, not recede.
Cardina: Definitely. So that we can get to all four, I'm just going to kind of speed through these digital consumers. Let's start with Amazon. Amazon stock is up 1,700% in ten years. Beyond e-commerce, it's got a lot going for it, its biggest growth driver being Amazon Web Services, the cloud, of course. Do you think that Amazon can do anything near a repeat performance when we're looking ahead to the next decade? How do you envision this as an investment today?
Helfstein: That's where I get back to that 16%, that is the total e-commerce penetration of retail in America. We're still early on as much as it doesn't feel that way for a lot of people. There is a lot more to come. We're going to be doing more and more online. Even their roll out of the Amazon stores or their use of the Whole Foods brand in the food space, I think is all reflective of innovation. Certainly AWS has been a phenomenal success story for the company. I don't know about repeating past performance, but we do think that we're early in the digital consumer revolution still. So there's a lot more to come. We saw Amazon Prime Day had the largest sales on record. Alibaba (BABA 4.17%) just put out numbers last week from its Singles Day, which also showed phenomenally strong growth year-over-year. So there's more to come. Not only that, we also focus a lot on margins. You look at a company like Walmart (WMT 0.14%) that has successfully grown its e-commerce business, yet it's done so at the expense of margins. Whereas Amazon margins have consistently increased overtime. We think that that's a trend that they can continue. Some of those investments if they made a few years ago, for example, like their own delivery trucks has turned out to be a phenomenal advantage.