The pandemic saw the acceleration of certain consumer trends that could arguably be described as secular in nature. And companies offering products or services that drove these unique trends have benefited immensely. But most importantly, these benefits are unlikely to reverse even if there is a decisive end to the pandemic.
For example, pets become part of the family and continue to need care and maintenance, exercise equipment -- especially those that generate recurring revenue streams to the manufacturer -- cannot be returned after the return window, and there is little reason to delete a social media account if its value proposition is high for the account holder. Peloton (PTON -0.55%), Pinterest (PINS 3.03%), and Chewy (CHWY 7.11%) are three companies experiencing rapid secular growth in their respective fields that should continue for a long time.
Here's a closer look at each of the companies and catalysts that could fuel them.
Pinterest is growing monthly active users rapidly and reached 459 million as of Dec. 31, a 37% increase from the same point a year ago. The majority of its users are from its international segment, where the average revenue per user (ARPU) is significantly lower than it is in the U.S.
Still, it can grow its ARPU, as it's currently the industry laggard in this metric. It's well on its way to do this, as overall ARPU expanded by 29% to $1.57 in the most recent quarter. Pinterest is introducing new features to marketers, which has the potential to increase spend.
Advertising and marketing campaigns are clearly starting to see increased activity as businesses reopen around the world. There's an immense need to get the word out on marketing platforms that they're open for business. In addition, some of these business would also need to offer incentives to get consumers to leave their homes and buy their products or services. Either way, driven by its solid marketing platform, Pinterest should benefit as global economies reopen, thanks to coronavirus vaccinations reaching a broader population.
Chewy has 17.8 million active customers, which is up by 39.8% from the prior year. Those new customers fueled a 45% sales increase in the most recent quarter. Pet ownership has increased substantially during the pandemic. This is a long-term commitment that could sustain sales growth for several years.
The proportion of sales coming from Autoship, a feature similar to Amazon's "subscribe and save," is 69.2%. These sales are more sticky as customers will have to make a few clicks to cancel a subscription. Further, it allows Chewy more visibility into customer orders, which makes it easier for management to decide which products to order from suppliers.
Chewy recently added a benefit to Autoship customers -- giving them access to the "Connect with a Vet" service, which connects customers to licensed vets so they can ask questions and get advice for free. The process of incrementally adding benefits is similar to how Amazon adds benefits to Prime members. Following the pattern of such a program that worked so well for Amazon could add more customers to Chewy's Autoship program.
An average pet parent in the U.S. spends $1,100 annually. However, the average revenue per customer for Chewy is $363. Showing there is potential to increase ARPU as it expands product availability. For instance, two years ago Chewy did not have a pharmacy -- so you had to go elsewhere for those products. Moreover, its selection for pet products was catered to dogs and cats. As it expands its catalog in those categories, it can capture a larger share of a customer's spending.
Peloton's exercise equipment and fitness classes were gaining popularity among enthusiasts long before the pandemic's onset. Sales have increased close to 100% in each of the last three years.
When gyms started shutting down to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, demand for Peloton's products exploded. The company can barely keep up with orders, and customers are regularly facing months-long wait times to receive their equipment.
Still, revenue increased by 128% in the most recent quarter from the same point a year ago. You could imagine how much larger that figure would have been if the company could relieve its supply chain constraints that are causing product-delivery delays and order backlogs. It's a great signal for shareholders that customers are willing to wait for weeks or months to get their hands on one of Peloton's products. It's similar to what makes Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) or Disney (NYSE:DIS) a good investment. For example, if you can remember going inside a Starbucks before the pandemic, more often than not, you would've had to wait in line to pay a premium price for its products. And the same goes with a Disney park, where for many of its attractions, lines sometimes last longer than an hour.
It demonstrates an overwhelming demand and gives a company an option of raising prices, increasing capacity, or a combination of both. In fact, the robust demand in the first six months of its fiscal 2021 allowed it to record a net income of $132.8 million, compared with a net loss of $105.2 million in the same period of the prior year.
Peloton, Chewy, and Pinterest are achieving high growth levels, and each has catalysts that could propel them even higher. Investors looking for growth stocks with room to rise will do well by adding these three to their watch lists.