It's one of the oldest debates in the investment world: Should I buy growth stocks or value stocks?
According to a study from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch that examined the returns of both categories between 1926 and 2015, value stocks outperformed. However, since the end of the Great Recession, growth stocks have run circles around value plays. Historically low lending rates are fueling aggressive expansion, hiring, innovation, and acquisition activity, which bodes extremely well for growth stocks in the new year.
As the young bull market really begins to stretch its legs, the following five growth stocks have the potential to make investors a lot richer in 2021.
The healthcare sector is home to a number of high-growth companies; but few offer the supercharged potential of Teladoc Health (TDOC 0.90%).
Teladoc is the nation's largest telehealth company, and as you might imagine, it benefited in a big way from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In the six months between the beginning of April and the end of September, Teladoc's virtual visit count jumped by more than 200% from the prior-year period. With physicians wanting to keep potentially COVID-19-infected and at-risk patients out of their offices, virtual visits became the go-to means of medical consultation.
The thing is, Teladoc is in great shape to see significant growth even after the pandemic has passed. It was delivering a compound annual growth rate of 74% between 2013 and 2019 (i.e., before the pandemic hit) because its telehealth network offered clear-cut competitive advantages. It's more convenient for patients, can accommodate more visits for physicians, and it's generally billed at a lower rate than office visits for health insurers. Telehealth is the future of healthcare in the United States.
Also, don't overlook the role recent acquisition Livongo Health will play. This applied health signals up-and-comer was growing sales by a triple-digit percentage, and had turned the corner to profitability despite only penetrating a little more than 1% of the U.S. diabetes market. With new targeted indications on the horizon and the ability to cross-sell with Teladoc, this combined company should be unstoppable.
After quadrupling in value last year, edge cloud services provider Fastly (FSLY 0.03%) shouldn't have an issue keeping the good times rolling in 2021.
Fastly's primary job is to deliver content quickly and securely to end users. That's become an even more important task with end users stuck in their homes or working remotely. Even when the pandemic ends, demand for content delivery isn't going to abate. That's why Fastly has the potential to triple its annual sales over the next four years.
Also important, we recently learned that Fastly is much more than just a TikTok beneficiary. In October, the company modestly lowered its third-quarter sales guidance on the heels of TikTok parent ByteDance pulling traffic off of its network. This came at a time when the Trump administration was threatening to ban TikTok downloads stateside. Fastly's share price was eventually halved following the news, primarily because TikTok was the company's largest first-half customer (about 12% of total sales).
Yet, Fastly's actual Q3 results showed 42% year-over-year sales growth, 96 new customers, an uptick in enterprise clients, and a dollar-based net expansion rate (DBNER) of 147% (up 10 percentage points from Q2 2020). This last figure suggests that Fastly's existing clients are seeing rapid traffic growth, which is resulting in a substantive increase in DBNER. In short, Fastly is on track to make its shareholders richer in the new year.
Green Thumb Industries
Marijuana stocks should be a smoking-hot investment throughout much of the decade, with U.S. pot stocks leading the way. No matter what happens on the legalization front, multistate operator Green Thumb Industries (GTBIF 0.40%) is positioned to outperform.
Green Thumb currently has 50 operating dispensaries, but holds enough licenses to open as many as 96 retail stores in a dozen states. What's notable about Green Thumb is the company's selectivity with regard to the states it's chosen to focus on. Nevada, for example, is expected to lead the country in per-capita cannabis spending by mid-decade. It's also bought its way into the limited license Illinois market, which'll allow it to gobble up a healthy amount of market share in an eventual billion-dollar market without facing an inordinate amount of competition.
Something else that makes Green Thumb tick is its product mix. Though most folks associate cannabis use with dried flower, approximately two-thirds of the company's sales are generated from derivatives. A derivative is an alternative consumption option, like edibles, vapes, or infused beverages. Derivatives have considerably higher margins than dried flower, which is why Green Thumb is slated to turn the corner to profitability before many of its peers.
This combination of state selectivity and product mix should help Green Thumb become one of the top-performing marijuana stocks in 2021.
Don't let its $765 billion market cap fool you -- Facebook (META -0.47%) is still in the relatively early to-mid innings of its growth phase.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past decade, you're probably aware of Facebook's social media dominance. At the end of September, it had 2.74 billion monthly active users on its namesake site, and 3.21 billion family monthly active people, which factors in monthly visitors to its other owned sites (Instagram and WhatsApp). There's nowhere else that advertisers can go in the social media space where they can reach a targeted audience of this magnitude. This gives Facebook incredible ad-pricing power, which is why its full-year sales continue to climb by double digits.
The truly exciting thing about Facebook is that it hasn't even fully monetized its assortment of platforms. It owns four of the six most-visited social platforms on the planet: Facebook, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. Only its namesake site and Instagram are currently generating sizable revenue from advertising. When the company does finally monetize WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, we'll see another serious growth spurt in both sales and operating cash flow.
As one last note, don't sleep on Facebook's innovation. From payments to cryptocurrencies and content streaming, Facebook has plenty of opportunity to broaden its revenue stream.
Finally, growth stock investors should continue to put their money and trust into e-commerce giant Amazon (AMZN 0.59%).
According to analysts at Bank of America, Amazon controls approximately 44% of U.S. online sales. Meanwhile, eMarketer pegs its estimate at 39.7% of U.S. e-commerce share in 2021. No matter which estimate you prefer, the fact is that Amazon is a mammoth force in online sales.
Even though the margins associated with retail sales aren't fantastic, the company has been able to sign up over 150 million Prime members worldwide -- a figure that I anticipate will surpass 200 million this year. The revenue raised from Prime memberships helps Amazon further undercut competitors on price, while giving Prime members a reason to stay within the Amazon universe of products and services.
Of course, Amazon's crown jewel might actually be it cloud infrastructure service, Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS has consistently grown at a faster rate than Amazon's marketplace, and it yields considerably higher margins than retail revenue. Despite only accounting for an eighth of 2020 year-to-date sales through September, AWS was responsible for a vast majority of the company's operating income. In other words, AWS is Amazon's ticket to serious cash flow expansion.