Since the end of the Great Recession, growth stocks have been put on a pedestal -- and for good reason. Historically low lending rates and ongoing quantitative easing measures from the Federal Reserve have allowed fast-growing businesses to borrow money at an attractive cost. This capital has been used by growth stocks to hire, acquire, and innovate.
As we look forward, there's little to indicate that growth stocks won't continue to thrive from low rates and a rapidly rebounding U.S. and global economy.
With this being said, here are three growth that have the potential to make you a lot richer in the second half of 2021, and well beyond.
Don't let the fact that Visa (V 1.05%) is one of the largest companies in the world by market cap deter you from thinking it can't make you richer in the second half of 2021 and well into the future. Winning stocks keep winning, and payment-processing giant Visa is no different.
Like most financial stocks, Visa is a cyclical company. This means it's susceptible to the inevitable downturns that hit the U.S. and global economy. However, recessions tend to be short-lived. By comparison, periods of economic expansion are measured in years, and have even lasted longer than a decade. Thus, Visa is a play on a numbers game that long-term investors will almost certainly win given that bull markets are disproportionately longer than periods of contraction.
To add to this point, Visa finds itself as the kingpin in the most important market for consumption in the world. As of 2018, Visa held a 53% share of credit card network purchase volume in the United States. Visa was the payment processor that clearly gobbled up additional share following the Great Recession (2007-2009).
The Visa growth story is also unique in that it's not a lender. While processors like American Express and Discover Financial Services have chosen to lend, and are therefore able to generate interest income and fees, along with processing revenue, Visa has avoided lending. It's something you'll come to appreciate when an economic contraction or recession strikes. Whereas most financial institutions are forced to set aside capital cover potential loan or credit delinquencies, Visa doesn't have to set aside capital for losses... because it's not a lender. This allows it to bounce back from recessions really quickly and helps maintain its 50% (or higher) gross margin.
Despite its size, Visa's revenue can continue growing by a double-digit percentage annually. Since most transactions globally are still conducted in cash, its growth runway extends many, many years into the future.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, businesses of all sizes were steadily increasing their online presence and moving data into the cloud. But when the pandemic hit, there was no choice but to accelerate this trend as workplaces went remote throughout much of the country. In the wake of the pandemic, we've learned that no matter the state of the U.S. economy or the size of a business, robots and hackers don't take a day off. Efficient cybersecurity solutions are a basic-need service to protect enterprise and customer data.
As its name likely gives away, Ping Identity is primarily focused on identity verification solutions. These cloud-based solutions lean on artificial intelligence to grow smarter at identifying and responding to potential threats over time. Remember, Ping isn't just verifying a users' identity. Its solutions are constantly monitoring and authorizing users accessing public or private clouds.
What's interesting about Ping is that it's in the midst of a transformation. Whereas it had emphasized subscription term-based licenses, and still generates the bulk of its sales from this category, it's gone all-in on pushing its subscription software-as-a-service (SaaS) and support model. That's because the latter offers higher margins, faster growth, and the opportunity to improve client retention rates.
Although Ping's 2020 was marred by some of its clients reupping with shorter-term licenses, its annual recurring revenue (ARR) grew by a double-digit percentage. This continued in the first quarter, with ARR up 16%. This recurring revenue, driven primarily by its SaaS security software, helped push its subscription gross margin to a lofty 85%. Even if Ping isn't growing at 30% or more annually like its peers, a 15% ARR growth rate with 85% gross margin is more than enough to make patient investors rich.
A final growth stock that has the potential to make its shareholders a lot richer is stay-and-hosting platform Airbnb (ABNB -0.25%).
As you can imagine, Airbnb's operating model took it on the chin during the pandemic. With people choosing to stay home to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), hosting revenue declined substantially, at least for a few months. But with vaccination rates picking up in developed countries, there's now a potential path to normalcy and a return to the hypergrowth that defined Airbnb.
Currently, the platform counts about 4 million hosts. That's a drop in the bucket considering there are more than 130 million homes in the U.S. alone, and over 1 billion worldwide. Even though not every homeowner will join the Airbnb marketplace, the cash flow potential is more than enough of a lure to send this 4 million figure skyrocketing higher this decade.
A key selling point about Airbnb for investors is the stickiness of the brand. The overwhelming majority of people booking on Airbnb's marketplace aren't being driven there by ads. Rather, it's familiarity with the platform or word-of-mouth. Further, the company notes that almost a quarter (24%) of the nights booked in the first quarter of 2021 were for 28-day stays, or longer, which was nearly double the 14% of long-term bookings from Q1 2019. This isn't just a vacation platform. It's becoming a life platform for those not tethered to a single location.
Speaking of life and adventure, Airbnb's long-term growth should also receive a boost from its Experiences segment. Experiences are adventures led by local experts. The company has an opportunity to truly infiltrate multiple levels of the vacation experience to become something of a one-stop-shop for hosting and travel.
Airbnb could very easily triple its sales by 2024, and is a good bet to be a winner when the pandemic is officially put in the rearview mirror.