In many ways, it's a strange time for investors. The market has clocked multiple record highs in recent months, and investor confidence has been renewed now that a second coronavirus relief package is on the way. At the same time, as a new and far more contagious strain of the coronavirus appears in the U.K., concern regarding its potential to spread and instigate another crash is becoming increasingly apparent in the market's movements.
While it's true that no one can predict exactly what the next few months may hold, now is the time to review your investment portfolio and focus on recession-proof companies when you buy new stocks.
The following three growth stocks were smart buys before the pandemic and are excellent long-term investments. If the bottom does fall out again, these are also three companies you'll want to have in your stock arsenal to ride out the market storm.
Teladoc (TDOC 4.58%) has undoubtedly been one of 2020's most popular stocks. The company was already impressing shareholders with mouth-watering returns before the pandemic, but its star power has surged higher as it continues to generate unbeatable growth despite ongoing volatility in the broader market.
During the four-year period beginning in 2014 and ending in 2017, Teladoc's revenue swelled at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 74%. The company also achieved above-average revenue growth of 79% in 2018 and 32% in 2019. In the first nine months of 2020, Teladoc's revenues bumped up 79% from the year-ago stretch, and patient visits rose 163%. It's no wonder the stock has surged by a triple-digit percentage over the trailing twelve months from approximately $83 per share to around $200 per share.
Teladoc is one of the largest telehealth companies in the world, and its leadership in this industry has enabled the company to capitalize on the marked shift to virtual care solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company released a report in May that shed light on these emerging healthcare trends:
Providers have rapidly scaled offerings and are seeing 50 to 175 times the number of patients via telehealth than they did before ... With the acceleration of consumer and provider adoption of telehealth and extension of telehealth beyond virtual urgent care, up to $250 billion of current US healthcare spend could potentially be virtualized."
Some investors are doubtful that Teladoc can continue generating the type of massive growth it's exhibited this year, but lightening growth has long been standard fare for this company. For example, in 2018 and 2019 alone, total visits on Teladoc's platform grew 80% and 57% on a year-over-year basis, respectively. And in the January-September period of this year, Teladoc's patient visits went up by 163% compared to the same time frame in 2019.
As Teladoc continues to expand its customer base organically and through additional acquisitions (e.g., its high-profile merger with Livongo earlier this year), shareholders will be primed for long-term, sustainable growth regardless of market movements.
In February of this year, business data platform Statista reported that Spotify (SPOT -2.39%) was officially the most popular streaming service in the world, with its subscriber base far exceeding that of top competitors like Apple Music. At last count, Spotify had 144 million subscribers and a total consumer base of 320 million. By contrast, Statista estimates place Apple Music's global subscriber count at 72 million.
Given the rush of users turning to streaming-based entertainment options for everything from film to TV to music, it's no surprise that Spotify has had a truly banner year. The stock has gained more than 100% since January. The company reported a 31% increase in both total monthly active users and premium subscribers during the first quarter, while total revenue grew at a rate of 22% from the year-ago period. During the next two quarters, Spotify's total monthly active users and premium subscriber base grew 29% and 27%, respectively, year over year. Also during those periods, the company's revenue surged 13% and 14% compared to the same quarters last year.
Spotify continues to diversify beyond music and give itself a leg up over the competition. The company launched a mixed-media Daily Sports playlist in the third quarter along with its first-ever video podcasts, a genius move to broaden users' entertainment experience. Spotify is working diligently to expand its podcast business, most recently with the decision to acquire podcast advertising and technology company Megaphone in a $235 million deal.
Spotify's business model is a product of the digital age, but it's also an ideal environment for long-term growth. With plenty of upside to spare, Spotify is a stellar company you can buy and hold in your stock basket for the next decade or longer.
Leading tech stock Amazon (AMZN 0.64%) has stayed at the top of its game this year. The FAANG company has gained roughly 70% this year, and purchasing a single share will run you about $3,200. But don't let the company's high share price scare you off. Fractional stock trading can be an investor's best friend when growth stocks reach this type of a premium.
As long-term lockdowns have driven antsy consumers to commence online shopping frenzies, Amazon's platform featuring nearly every product, brand, and gadget imaginable remains the go-to for both essential and discretionary purchases. The company grew its net sales by double digits during the first three quarters of 2020 from the year-ago quarters: 26%, 40%, and 37%. Management is expecting to close out 2020 strong, targeting between 28% and 38% net-sales growth in Q4.
Amazon has kept up its tradition of expansion and diversification this year. The company continues to establish itself as a leading entertainment provider. Amazon's launch of Prime Video Cinema and release of a slate of new original productions throughout this year are just a few examples of how the company is meeting the needs of consumers choosing streaming entertainment solutions over in-person screenings.
The company has also focused on growing its family of Echo products in 2020 and launched the new Echo device (a hybrid of Echo and Echo Plus) in Q3. A few other noteworthy launches during the last quarter included its Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite, along with health and wellness service Amazon Halo. The company's foray into the healthcare scene with the launch of Amazon Pharmacy last month is just further evidence of the many ways in which the company continues to make itself indispensable to its vast customer base.
Amazon has been one of the top performers of the coronavirus stock market, but its potential isn't limited to this year. A favorite with newbies and veteran investors alike, Amazon is a stock that can provide stability and growth to your portfolio for decades.