The economy is moving in the right direction, but there's no shortage of things that can trip things up. Between inflationary fears and ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 crisis around the globe, a recession may be closer than you think. You may want to invest accordingly.

Axon Enterprise (NASDAQ:AXON), Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU), and O'Reilly Automotive (NASDAQ:ORLY) are three companies built to survive an economic downturn. Let's see why they are three recession-ready stocks to buy in July.

Tumbleweed in an empty office building.

Image source: Getty Images.

Axon Enterprise

When money is hard to come by people can get pretty desperate. Axon is there to make sure confrontations between police officers and alleged criminals get a fair shake. Axon's namesake body cameras record arrests and other clashes, helping the truth bubble up to the surface. Axon's industry-leading Taser stun guns also help provide better outcomes in controlling a situation than fatal firepower. 

Axon's business is growing at a healthy pace with top-line growth of 20% or better for six consecutive years. Police departments aren't going to skimp on the tools that help enforcement without triggering a scandal. Axon also runs, the leading cloud-based storage solution of all of the video that its cameras have been recording. 


Entertainment is escapism when the economy gets unhinged, and Roku is a cheap date. There are some pretty good reasons for why Roku has quickly ballooned into becoming the streaming hub of 53.9 million active accounts. Roku's operating system comes factory-installed in more than a third of the new smart TVs selling in this country. If you're not that fortunate, buying into the Roku ecosystem sets you back as little as $20 for a dongle that can connect you to thousands of streaming apps. 

Roku is free to use, a strong selling point in a recession. The platform is generating roughly $3 a month in ad revenue per account from advertisers trying to get their messages and apps in front of Roku's engaged audience. Sure, many of those thousands of apps on Roku are premium services, but the company's getting better at offering more and more for freeloaders. Roku has been loading up The Roku Channel with free ad-supported content, and it's been investing in exclusive content that it can profit from through its rapidly evolving monetization skills. 

O'Reilly Automotive

Let's wrap this up with the Rolls-Royce of recession stocks: O'Reilly Automotive. The auto parts retailer has come through with 28 consecutive years of positive comps. The secret to that all-weather success is that folks need to maintain their cars in good times and bad. 

Recessions are actually a time when O'Reilly Automotive shines, as folks who can't afford new rides need to spend on maintaining their aging vehicles. O'Reilly is also benefiting from the ride-hailing trend, in that those cars wear down a lot easier than vehicles that spend most of the time parked at your home. 

Comps soared nearly 25% through the first three months of the year, and the prospects remain strong and battle-tested for the 5,660-store chain. If you're worried about what to invest in during a recession, Axon, Roku, and O'Reilly Automotive are a good place to start this month.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.