As 2020 nears its end, many investors are thinking ahead to the new year and what it might hold for the stock market. If this year has taught us anything, it's that there's certainly no way to predict what will happen with the market, or anything else for that matter.
But what investors can do is be proactive in finding great companies that are setting themselves up for future growth. And since this is the season of giving, three Motley Fool contributors are offering a few stock suggestions that investors should consider buying this month. Here's why they think Zoom Video Communications (ZM 1.66%), Shopify (SHOP -2.90%), and HubSpot (HUBS 0.31%) should be on your investment shopping list.
Zoom: More than just a coronavirus play
Brian Withers (Zoom Video Communications): I can't imagine anyone who hasn't heard of the video communications platform Zoom. You may have used its virtual meeting product to have a socially distanced Thanksgiving family dinner, attend class, or participate in a staff meeting from your couch. Regardless of what virtual event you engaged in, you've been part of the 30-fold increase in time spent in Zoom meetings from last year. But what's exciting for investors is that this incredible growth story is really just getting started.
Even with the most recent quarter's jaw-dropping 367% revenue growth, there are indicators that there's even more fuel left in this rocket ship's tank. First, there's still a massive opportunity with its current large Global 2000 corporate customers. As of Q2, 54% of these customers spent more than $1,000 annually with Zoom. But if you look at the portion spending more than $100,000 annually, the penetration rate drops to a meager 12%. These large corporate customers represent a significant opportunity not only to expand usage of the virtual meeting product, but expand into its other products, such as conference room solutions, webinar products, or Zoom's connected phone.
Extending its presence in international markets is another opportunity. Revenue outside the Americas region represents only 31% of the total, but it is growing twice as fast, at a mind-blowing 629% last quarter. Lastly, there's an additional opportunity as the company continues to innovate. It recently announced some new features that will help businesses as they reenter the workplace post-COVID-19. Upgrades like a virtual receptionist, advanced whiteboard features for the hybrid in-person/virtual meeting, and a smart gallery that makes all meeting participants show up as individual participants with their own "screen," even if they are in a shared space. These innovations are just the beginning, as Zoom strives to make virtual meetings better than in-person ones. With valuable features being added all the time, the platform will attract more customers to spend even more on this time-saving service.
But why is this video platform a top tech stock to buy before the New Year? It turns out that many may be selling to take profits after the huge run-up in the stock.
Between this sell-off and the incredible results from the recent earnings release, the price-to-sales ratio has dropped more than 40%. This reduced valuation presents a great opportunity for investors to get in on this long-term growth story at a much better price. Years from now, patient shareholders will be able to look back and be happy they purchased shares during this December's "40%-off" sale.
Shopify: The adoption of e-commerce has only just begun
Danny Vena (Shopify): Given the monumental run that Shopify has had in 2020, it's easy to see why some investors would give the company a hard pass. As of this writing, the stock is up 167% in 2020 alone, and over the past five years the stock has gained more than 3,800%. Yet even in the face of its brilliant performance in recent years, the best is still yet to come for Shopify.
The company was already doing superbly before the pandemic supercharged the adoption of its platform. Shopify supplies all the tools necessary for entrepreneurs to establish and maintain an online presence. The cloud-based platform offers dozens of ready-to-use templates to build a website and hundreds of apps to customize the look and feel of your business to your unique customer base.
That's not all. Shopify integrates is services with all the major payment processors and shipping companies, making it a snap to fold a new digital sales channel into an existing business. Its recent move into logistics and fulfillment will only make its services more valuable to online sellers.
One of the big narratives making the rounds is that once the pandemic is over, things will go back to "normal." People will begin shopping in stores again and there will be a huge falloff in the demand for e-commerce. History, however, doesn't support that argument. E-commerce has been growing consistently for more than two decades, with no signs of slowing.
Back in early 2011, online sales represented roughly 4.5% of total retail in the U.S. By the end of 2019, that had risen to about 11.5% -- and this was before the coronavirus reared its ugly head. The rapid adoption of e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift from brick-and-mortar retail to digital channels by roughly five years, according to IBM's U.S. Retail Index. More consumers than ever before have discovered the ease and convenience of shopping from home. At the same time, merchants have benefited from the addition of new revenue streams from online sales -- there's simply no going back.
Shopify has capitalized on the pivot to e-commerce, and there's no reason that won't continue. For the third quarter, revenue grew 96% year over year, while gross merchandise volume -- the value of products sold via its platform -- grew 109%. At the same time, net income soared 163%.
Investors can expect more of the same during the fourth quarter, as Shopify has provided a preview of what's to come. Earlier this week, the company said merchants on its platform generated record-setting sales over the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with sales of $5.1 billion, up 76% compared to the same period last year. That's not all. During the week leading up to Cyber Monday, sales jumped 84%.
Even as online sales become a daily occurrence, it's still in the early stages of overall adoption. The holiday shopping season is sure to break more records, which is why Shopify is one of the top tech stocks to buy in December.
A tech stock with spot-on growth
Chris Neiger (HubSpot): HubSpot is a leading inbound marketing software company that helps businesses communicate with their current customers and find new ones. HubSpot's suite of online tools makes its platform a one-stop shop for customer relationship management -- and it's thriving.
In the most recent quarter (reported on Nov. 5) HubSpot's revenue increased an impressive 32% year over year, and adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.28 beat analysts' consensus earnings estimate. HubSpot's stock jumped on that news, and investors have pushed the company's stock price up 145% year to date.
One of the main catalysts for HubSpot's growth has come from its subscription revenue, which jumped 32% in the quarter. But it's the company's customer growth that has been even more impressive, jumping 39% from the year-ago quarter.
Investors should keep in mind that HubSpot grew its customer count during a time when many businesses were struggling to stay afloat. HubSpot stepped in and made this difficult time easier by offering lower prices for some customers and upgrading others at no cost.
That strategy helped HubSpot grow this year, and it's that long-term approach to looking out for its customers that will likely keep the company in a leading position in the customer relationship management market for years to come.