There's no denying that the trend toward e-commerce had already gained a significant foothold before the pandemic struck. There's also overwhelming evidence that that trend took a giant step forward as consumers were forced to shelter in place and forego their regular brick-and-mortar shopping experiences.

While some investors believe that things will go back to "normal" once the pandemic has been laid to rest, the fundamental changes wrought by the emerging digital transformation are here to stay.

Arguably, the most obvious beneficiaries of that acceleration were Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) and (NASDAQ:AMZN), which have seen revenue jumps of 82% and 35%, respectively, so far this year. While those market leaders are certainly worth owning, let's look at three stocks that have the potential for even more upside in the months and years to come.

Hundred dollar bills with face masks on Benjamin Franklin falling from stormy sky

Image source: Getty Images.

Fiverr: A marketplace for workers in the gig economy

At first glance, Fiverr International (NYSE:FVRR) might not seem like an e-commerce stock, but it merely addresses a different type of commerce. The company is one of the world's largest digital sales platforms that connects businesses with freelancers, offering any manner of digital services to users around the world. Sellers (freelancers) use the platform to list their services (called "gigs") in more than 300 categories to buyers looking to purchase those services.

Fiverr works as the go-between and holder of the funds to ensure both parties are satisfied, and takes a flat fee of 20% from the seller for its trouble. The company's position as broker and toll collector has turned out to be extremely lucrative. Fiverr has delivered accelerating revenue growth in each of the past four quarters. For the third quarter, revenue grew 88% year over year, while its net loss improved by 95%, pushing Fiverr to the edge of profitability. 

The company's user metrics were equally compelling. Active buyers climbed 37%, while the average spend per buyer has grown every year since 2012, more than tripling over the past seven years. It's also worth noting that each year's cohort of buyers becomes increasingly important, as many become repeat users of Fiverr. Last year, 58% of revenue came from existing buyers, with the remaining 42% from new users.

The gig economy is expected to continue its rapid growth, and management estimates Fiverr's addressable market at roughly $115 billion. Considering the company generated trailing 12-month revenue of about $163 million, it has a long runway ahead. 

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Image source: Getty Images.

Sea Limited: A leader and growing presence in Southeast Asia

While Amazon and Shopify are the headliners in North America, the same can't be said for the rest of the world. MercadoLibre has the pole position in Latin America, while Sea Limited (NYSE:SE) is the e-commerce market leader in the large and growing market of Southeast Asia. The company serves seven key markets in the region, including Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore.

With more than 585 million consumers and 315 million internet users, the region boasts the fifth largest economy in the world. Not only that, the middle class is expected to grow from 135 million to 334 million by 2030. That's greater than the entire current population of the U.S. 

Investors get more than just access to the growth of digital sales when they buy Sea Limited. The company also boasts a thriving video game segment, Garena, and a rapidly growing digital payments business, SeaMoney. By integrating its digital payments with the company's two other prosperous businesses, Sea is helping to ensure that its payments business will add meaningfully to its results over time and will ultimately be successful.

Shopee, the company's e-commerce platform, is the leading online seller in Southeast Asia (in terms of gross merchandise volume), and its app ranks No. 1 in both Taiwan and Southeast Asia in terms of app downloads, average monthly active users (MAU), and time spent on the Android version of the app, according to data compiled by App Annie. 

In the third quarter, Sea Limited's revenue grew 99% year over year, while gross profit more than doubled. The company is still drowning in red ink, as its net loss more than doubled as well. That's not unexpected as the company works to build out its nascent digital platforms. 

With e-commerce, digital payments, and video games as tailwinds, the future looks bright for Sea Limited.

A number of hand-carved holiday ornaments.

Image source: Etsy.

Etsy: Cornering the market in retro and handmade goods

While it serves just a small niche in the overall e-commerce boom, Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY) has found a way to make handmade, one-of-a-kind items and craft supplies a very profitable niche indeed. By expanding the online marketplace that connects the buyers and sellers for these specialty items, the company dominates the digital market it created.

For the third quarter, Etsy's revenue grew 128% year over year. That's not an anomaly either, as sales so far in 2020 have more than doubled. This was driven by marketplace revenue that jumped 141% and gross merchandise sales (GMS) that climbed 119%. Even more compelling is the company's bottom line, as Etsy delivered net income that soared 520%. 

These results were driven by impressive customer metrics. Etsy reported an influx of 14.8 million new and "reactivated" buyers (those who haven't purchased anything on the platform over the past year). This drove total active buyers to more than 69 million in the third quarter, up 55% year over year, while its active seller base of 3.6 million climbed 42%. Even more impressive was the number of repeat buyers, which grew 70%. Existing cohorts of customers are becoming more lucrative, as existing buyers increased their spending by more than 50%.

Etsy pointed out that sales of face masks continued to be brisk, with 11% of overall marketplace sales attributed to face coverings. However, even excluding those pandemic-specific purchases, GMS still rose 93%. Even then, the company has found that once customers visit the site, these buyers tend to return to make future purchases.

Given the company's first-mover advantage and the likely permanent increase in its customer base due to the pandemic, Etsy should continue to reap the rewards of its one-of-a-kind marketplace for years to come.

FVRR Chart

Data by YCharts

You get what you pay for

Each of these companies has seen a significant run-up in its stock price so far this year. As a result, these digital sellers are all high-risk, high-reward propositions. A by-product of the soaring stock price is the associated valuation, as Fiverr, Sea Limited, and Etsy are selling at 41, 25, and 16 times sales, respectively -- when a good price-to-sales ratio is considered to be between one and two. It's also important to note that of the three, only Etsy is currently profitable, as the other continue to spend heavily from their limited resources to secure future growth.

The soaring stock prices illustrate that thus far, investors have been willing to pay up for the impressive top-line growth, and the potential for the explosive profits that could be on the horizon in the months and years to come.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.