Even with its otherworldly volatility, Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) has been one of the best investments to own over the past several years. And in 2021, that theme continued, as the most valuable cryptocurrency has soared nearly 70% this year.
Risk-averse investors who avoid this burgeoning asset class might instead want to own actual businesses that give them the potential for outsized returns. In that case, look no further than The Joint Corp. (JYNT 2.30%). In fact, this nationwide franchisor of chiropractic clinics has even outperformed Bitcoin, up a remarkable 150% in 2021.
Does The Joint. Corp. stock look like an attractive opportunity today? Let's find out.
Treating back pain at scale
As of Sept. 30, the business had 666 total locations, of which 583 were franchised and 83 were corporate owned. What separates The Joint Corp. from traditional chiropractors is that the former only provides basic back adjustments. Sessions require no appointments and take just a few minutes to complete. There's no expensive equipment, and because patients don't need insurance, there's also no need for administrative staff.
While revenue won't soar going forward like it has historically (systemwide sales skyrocketed 70% annually from 2010 through 2020), investors can still expect serious gains as the company continues to gain scale. The gross margin is just shy of 90%, as operating a capital-light franchise model is extremely lucrative.
There are some clear positive indicators that bode well for The Joint Corp.'s long-term prospects. Google Trends data shows that searches for "chiropractor near me" have trended higher over the past five years. Additionally, a 2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study revealed that 25% of U.S. adults had back pain within the prior three months.
As the country's vaccination rate ticks up and people feel comfortable seeing a chiropractor for their back pain, The Joint Corp. will be there to treat them. Not only does the chiropractic care market generate $18 billion in annual revenue, but 50% of Americans don't even know what the word "chiropractic" even means. Powerful momentum, supported by what I believe is the general public's rising interest in health and wellness, will propel this business in the coming year and beyond.
By 2023, management expects to have 1,000 clinics open. And they see the potential for 1,800 locations in the U.S. one day. This means the company's profitability, which has been accelerating in recent years, could be multitudes higher in the not-too-distant future. That's a key ingredient when it comes to achieving market-crushing returns.
The stock is down big in recent months
Since reporting third-quarter financial results on Nov. 4, the stock has fallen nearly 32% (as of Dec. 15). The Russell 2000, a small-cap index, is down just 9% during the same time period. Although The Joint Corp. posted a year-over-year revenue increase of 36% for Q3, it was down meaningfully from the 61% jump in the prior quarter. I think this sequential deceleration spooked investors.
And uncertainty regarding the ongoing pandemic and the omicron variant, mixed with the often-discussed topics of inflation and the Fed's next move, result in high-growth names getting unusually hammered. The Joint Corp. is not immune to the market's latest whims.
Will The Joint Corp. outperform Bitcoin again in 2022? Your guess is as good as mine. But I think investors would be smart to take advantage of the recent price decline and consider buying shares in this fast-growing business. I know I will be.