Every week on Motley Fool Backstage Pass, there's a show called "The Rank," during which Fool contributors take a group of stocks and collectively rank them from first to last in terms of their long-term conviction. In this video clip, recorded on Nov. 1, Fool contributor Danny Vena explains why MercadoLibre (NASDAQ:MELI) took the top spot for him in that episode's ranking. Fool contributor Jon Quast is also in the clip.
Danny Vena: I'm actually just going to jump right into my number one position.
Jon Quast: Go for it.
Vena: Because a lot of the arguments are the same. My number one conviction company here is MercadoLibre. This is the stock that I ranked as number one out of the nine stocks that we presented. Essentially, the opportunity for MercadoLibre is several fold. I'll break it up into two big buckets.
First of all, the growing adoption of e-commerce in Latin America. If you think about what MercadoLibre does, it does all of the things that Shopify does. It does all of the things that Square does, it does all of the things that PayPal does. It does many of the things that Amazon does. It does all of the things that eBay does.
When you think about Latin America, a lot of people think, well, that's a smaller market. Actually, Latin America has twice the population of the United States. The United States has some more in the neighborhood of 325 million people, Latin America has more than 650 million.
First of all, you have a population that's twice as much. There's one leg of the opportunity. The second is that we are much further along in the adoption curve in the United States of digital payments and of e-commerce than Latin America is. They are in the low to mid single-digits in adoption when it comes to e-commerce and percent of total sales.
Now that said, if we talk about the payments opportunity for just a minute, MercadoLibre has gone from being a digital payment method that was available only on its platform. It became so popular other websites said, "Hey, we want to put Mercado Libre as a payment option on our website." Then it became so popular brick-and-mortar merchants said, "We want to accept MercadoLibre at our brick-and-mortar store." As a result of that, the off platform payments is growing by triple-digits and has done for the past five consecutive quarters year-over-year growth.
You see they have a very large opportunity in e-commerce. They have a very large opportunity in digital payments and they have made that leap from just digital payments, but into the brick-and-mortar payments opportunity. I think there are a lot of reasons to like MercadoLibre. It is one of the highest conviction stocks in my portfolio, and I think that's why it ended up being number one on this episode of The Rank.