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Is Amazon Stock a Buy?

By Anders Bylund - May 25, 2021 at 8:57AM

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The giant e-tailer has lots of room to grow.

E-commerce titan (AMZN 2.07%) has been crushing the market for 24 years now. $10,000 invested in Amazon on the first day of trading in May 1997 would be worth $16.6 million at today's share prices.

You might expect Amazon's growth engines to run out of rocket fuel someday soon, but the stock is still a solid buy in my book. Here's why.

What makes Amazon special?

What started as a modest online bookstore has grown into a global conglomerate spanning several industries.

Amazon's online retail operations collected $340 billion of top-line sales last year, nipping at the heels of mighty Walmart (WMT 1.85%) and its $559 billion revenue reading. The Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing division saw $45 billion of net sales, generating more than half of Amazon's operating profits.

It's worth mentioning that AWS's sales outpaced business software veteran Oracle (ORCL 2.58%), whose 2020 sales stopped at $39.7 billion. AWS started as a hobby, simply taking advantage of unused capacity in Amazon's data centers. Now, it's a huge profit center and a large business in its own right.

A smiling older couple use a tablet computer, snuggled up together on a couch.

Image source: Getty Images.

And the success story doesn't end there. Amazon's in-house shipping service will soon handle more packages than FedEx (FDX 0.63%) or UPS (UPS 0.98%), and the supporting warehouse network is only growing larger.

In a nutshell, Amazon won't run out of high-growth business ideas anytime soon. If it managed to do so, the company would just turn its massive infrastructure and massive business ambitions onto some other sector. Rumor has it that Amazon Prime will start competing directly with the like of UPS and FedEx later this year, carrying packages for other companies and maybe even handling consumer-to-consumer shipments.

Can this giant grow any larger?

If you thought that online shopping was popular in 2020, you ain't seen nothing yet. The global e-commerce market added up to $4.3 trillion in sales last year but the total sales of all types of retailers soared to $25 trillion. In other words, Amazon and its online peers have a lot of pie left to steal from traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers.

We already talked about how Amazon is keen on casting its net far and wide into adjacent industries. That flexible management approach should keep Amazon relevant and profitable for decades to come. Founder and chairman Jeff Bezos famously wants Amazon to operate as if every day is "day one" at a freshly minted start-up company. That's how you build a market-beating business for the ages.

It's not too late to start an Amazon position today or add to your existing holdings. The stock may not skyrocket from this $1.6 trillion market cap but Amazon's market-beating habits are hard to break.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Anders Bylund owns shares of Amazon. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and FedEx. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1,920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1,940 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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