With how influential the e-commerce revolution has already been, investors could get the impression that online retail's days of being a hot growth industry have passed. But the global online retail industry is still just getting started, and it offers investors an appealing backdrop of growth.
Read on for a look at three e-commerce stocks that are worth buying in 2021 and holding for the long term.
In the U.S., Amazon (AMZN -3.53%) is synonymous with e-commerce. The company controls roughly half of the business-to-consumer online retail market, and it offers an unbeatable selection of products, pricing variety, and premium membership-service benefits. Under the guidance of CEO Jeff Bezos, the business has shaped the progression of the e-commerce industry, and it will likely continue to influence its growth and benefit from it.
In addition to its massive and fast-growing online retail operation, Amazon has other growth drivers. Its Amazon Web Services online hosting and infrastructure service leads the cloud computing category. Along with e-commerce, the company's forefront position in cloud computing gives it leadership in two industries that are changing how the world does business.
Amazon has demonstrated a remarkable ability to deliver services and products that stand on their own while creating synergistic benefits for its other initiatives. Think of how Amazon's Alexa software and Echo hardware have given the company positions in voice-based operating systems and artificial intelligence (AI) that also connect with the company's online retail platform.
Investments in digital advertising, AI, and self-driving vehicles will help power the company's next growth phases while also supporting continued growth for e-commerce operations. The tech giant has a wealth of strengths that offer stand-alone benefits and reinforce other strengths, and Amazon's track record of intelligent risk-taking and execution makes it a top stock for growth investors seeking dependable category leaders.
Baozun (BZUN -1.73%) is a Shanghai-based company that provides e-commerce services for businesses looking to grow their presence in China. Online-store creation and customization software are at the core of the company, but Baozun also provides marketing, customer management, warehousing, and order-fulfillment services.
The company has continued to add new customers to its platform, and its brand-partner count of 260 at the end of September was up from 223 at the end of the prior-year period.
But it's fair to say that Baozun has been underperforming on some fronts. Its shares have slipped roughly 2.5% over the last year and trade down 46% from the high they hit in the summer of 2018.
The company's growth admittedly underwhelmed investors in 2020, a year that saw incredible momentum for some e-commerce businesses. Concerns about regulatory pressures in China and a potential government crackdown on big tech companies including Baozun's retail partner and stakeholder Alibaba have added to pressures on the stock.
But Baozun has a sizable and still-growing customer base and a strong position in its corner of the e-commerce market. The business has avenues to top expectations and push its stock well above current levels. It has a market capitalization of roughly $2.7 billion and looks cheaply valued trading at roughly 20 times this year's expected earnings and 1.5 times expected sales.
ContextLogic (WISH -1.86%) is the parent company of the Wish, a bargain-focused e-commerce platform that has the potential for huge growth. While online retail is already very popular in the U.S., China, and other countries, it's still just taking off in many developing markets around the world.
Affordability is going to play a big role in driving overall global e-commerce growth, and Wish's focus on providing unbranded alternatives to hot consumer and technology products could be a very rewarding niche. The company's mobile-centric shopping platform provides a discovery-focused shopping experience that encourages engagement, and it could benefit as more spending is done through smartphones and tablets.
ContextLogic's IPO prospectus notes that global e-commerce on mobile platforms alone generated $2.1 trillion in sales in 2019, and it expects that the market size will increase to $4.5 trillion in 2024. Wish is available in over 100 countries and counts roughly 100 million monthly active users. It's been one of the most downloaded mobile e-commerce apps over the last four years, according to data from Sensor Tower.
This strong growth trajectory for mobile e-commerce and a niche focus that has a natural appeal could help ContextLogic carve out a growing space in online retail. The company has a strong balance sheet to deploy for acquisitions and other growth initiatives, with roughly $1.1 billion in cash and zero debt on the books as of Sept. 30. And its price still doesn't look prohibitive, with a market capitalization of roughly $15.5 billion.