Traders using the Robinhood investment app have gained a reputation for favoring high-risk stocks that they hope will generate a high reward. That often means picking young companies with a new innovative product or those that haven't yet posted a profit. But there are also plenty of users of the commission-free online trading platform who are betting on well-established companies with strong brands and loyal fans.
Nike and Starbucks have years of annual profit under their belts. But they struggled earlier this year as the coronavirus pandemic temporarily closed businesses and kept people home. Robinhood investors are betting on these two companies' next phase of growth. And so should you.
Nike started its push into digital and selling directly to the consumer back in 2017. In 2020, it truly began reaping the rewards of its operational changes. Of course, sales suffered in the early part of the year as most stores closed and shoppers prioritized buying essentials. But Nike stayed digitally connected to fans. An early example is its training and running club apps. Fans flocked to the online workouts during the worst of the health crisis. Nike Training Club workouts reached a high of about 5 million workouts per week during all of April.
The maker of athletic gear also put the focus on its membership program. Nike has gained 70 million new members worldwide since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. And the company is doing all it can to keep those members happy. It held its first Member Days in the most recent quarter, offering access to new products and other rewards in-store and online. Also in the quarter, Nike completed its first product release through a live-streaming event. The Air Jordan 4 PSG sneaker sold out in less than two minutes.
How does all of this translate into earnings? In the quarter that ended Nov. 30, Nike reported a 9% year-over-year increase in revenue to more than $11 billion. Diluted earnings per share climbed 11% to $0.78. And Nike brand digital sales soared 84%. Nike's earnings surpassed analysts' average forecast in the past two quarters.
In the earnings call, president and CEO John Donahoe said, "digital is now woven into everything we do." Nike says the consumer's interest in connecting and buying online is a permanent shift. And outside research supports this. Global online retail sales are expected to reach $6.5 trillion in 2023, according to Statista. That's up from $3.5 trillion in 2019.
Starbucks' revenue and profit slid earlier this year as it closed many of its stores. But the coffee chain has been quick to respond to what customers need right now and in the future in its biggest market. Prior to the pandemic, to-go orders accounted for 80% of U.S. sales. Starbucks already was working to best serve those customers with options like its Starbucks Pickup stores. Now, the company is speeding up its development of store formats to suit the on-the-go customer.
Management said pick-up, drive-thru, and related store formats will make up 45% of U.S. shops by 2023. That's up by about 10 percentage points from the fiscal year 2020 that closed on Sept. 27.
The coffee retailer also is moving forward in its second-biggest market: China. There, the company plans to open 600 new stores in the coming year. And 10% of them will be the Starbucks Now format. This type of shop focuses on a streamlined experience, facilitating ordering and pick-up. Including this and other store formats, Starbucks expects to have 6,000 stores in China by the end of the 2022 fiscal year. The company currently has more than 32,600 stores worldwide.
Signs of Starbucks' rebound since tougher times early this year can be seen in membership numbers. The company had 19.4 million 90-day active members in the U.S. before the pandemic. That number dipped to a low of 16.3 million during the crisis. It has since rebounded to 19.3 million. Why is this so important? Because these members generate about half of the company's revenue. As for earnings ahead, Starbucks predicts annual adjusted EPS growth of at least 10% as of the 2023 fiscal year.
Brand strength, loyal fans
Whether the coronavirus pandemic persists this year or wanes, Nike and Starbucks are prepared to generate revenue well into the future. They have brand strength, loyal fans, and they know how to connect with customers as the environment evolves. That's why these two popular Robinhood consumer stocks make solid additions to any long-term portfolio.