Historically, the stock market has been one of the best tools available to the ordinary person looking to get richer. But becoming wealthy doesn't happen overnight, and that's as true in life in general as it is in the stock market.
Instead, patience is vital when investing in equities. Keeping shares of great companies for a very long time can help accumulate massive amounts of wealth. If that's your goal, two stocks that are worth your hard-earned money are Intuitive Surgical (ISRG 1.16%) and Shopify (SHOP -1.17%).
1. Intuitive Surgical
Medical devices giant Intuitive Surgical struggled at the pandemic's peak as did many of its peers in the industry. With elective surgeries decreasing amid the outbreak, sales of the company's instruments that go along with its da Vinci surgical system dropped, leading to lower revenue for the healthcare giant.
Thankfully, Intuitive Surgical's business has mostly rebounded. In the fourth quarter, the company's revenue grew by 17% year over year to $1.55 billion. The company shipped 385 of its da Vinci systems during the quarter, bringing its total installed base to 6,730, 12% higher than the year-ago period.
That metric is important. As Intuitive Surgical continues to grow its installed base, it will lead to an increase in the number of procedures performed with the da Vinci system, a driver of revenue growth for the company. In December, Intuitive announced that the number of surgeries performed with its crown jewel had crossed the 10 million mark since it was first cleared by regulators in the U.S. back in 2000.
Moreover, Intuitive Surgical's competitive edge also strengthens as it ships more of its da Vinci systems. These devices typically cost between $500,000 and $2.5 million and take a considerable amount of training to master.
These factors grant Intuitive Surgical's business high switching costs, and that's why it is likely to retain the clients it already has. And as it is the industry leader -- Intuitive held a nearly 80% market share in 2020 -- expect the company to continue to make headway. The robotic-assisted surgery market has considerable room to grow.
According to some estimates, the industry will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 16.7% through 2027. It likely won't stop there given that these robotically assisted surgeries come with superior health outcomes when compared to traditional surgeries. That's why Intuitive Surgical is such a great healthcare stock to buy and forget.
Contrary to Intuitive Surgical, Shopify's business was booming during the pandemic as consumers shifted their spending habits and relied more on e-commerce. In response, a record number of merchants turned to companies like Shopify to open online storefronts.
The tech giant's shares skyrocketed in 2020, but it has now been dragged back down to Earth as its pandemic tailwind has subsided. In its fourth-quarter earnings release, Shopify said the following: "While we believe that the COVID-triggered acceleration of e-commerce that spilled into the first half of 2021 in the form of lockdowns and government stimulus will be absent from 2022 and there is caution around inflation and consumer spend near term, for the full year, we see economic growth supporting the continued penetration of retail by e-commerce."
The market reacted to the first half of this sentence regarding the end of the acceleration of e-commerce caused by the pandemic, sending Shopify's stock cratering following its earnings release. Indeed, in my view, Shopify will have a challenging next 12 months.
It will face difficult year-over-year comparisons, it still isn't consistently profitable, and even after the recent sell-off, it is still trading at about 14.5 times forward sales. By contrast, Wix, one of Shopify's competitors on the market, trades at just 3.5 times forward sales.
Investors should expect Shopify's shares to drop even more in the coming weeks. But while the company's near-term outlook might be iffy, I remain confident in the company's long-term prospects. That's because its future is largely tied to the increased adoption of e-commerce, an industry with miles of growth left ahead.
Meanwhile, Shopify's business benefits from high switching costs. It isn't easy to start an online storefront from scratch and attract customers. Having to redo this process multiple times for the same business would be out of the question for most merchants. A strong moat coupled with long-term tailwinds is a tremendous recipe for success.
That's why I intend to hold onto my Shopify shares for a very long time.