Amazon (AMZN -0.15%) has faced a perfect storm of calamities in 2022. Tepid e-commerce sales, surging energy and labor costs, and slowing growth in its cloud computing and advertising businesses have all conspired to drive investors away from Amazon's shares. The retail and cloud tech giant's stock price, in turn, is down a painful 50% over the past year.
Therein lies your opportunity. Investors should consider this sell-off a rare opportunity to buy shares in an elite business at a steep discount. Here's why.
Growth prospects remain bright
After soaring during the early stages of the pandemic, online retail sales have moderated as more people have returned to shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. Yet, worldwide e-commerce sales are still forecast to grow from $5.2 trillion in 2021 to over $8 trillion by 2026, according to Statista.
As for Amazon, its sales are projected to top $1.2 trillion by 2027, up from roughly $500 billion today. These expected revenue gains, combined with Amazon's cost-cutting efforts, should result in significantly higher profits in the coming years.
A steadily expanding online retail marketplace should also propel Amazon's promising advertising business to even greater heights. Third-party merchants are responsible for nearly 60% of the transactions on Amazon's e-commerce sites. That figure has been rising steadily, and it's likely to continue to head higher over time as more entrepreneurs launch online businesses.
Many of these merchants use Amazon's advertising services to grow their sales and profits, and the high returns they can generate on their marketing investments have made Amazon's ad platform increasingly indispensable to this growing army of third-party sellers.
Incredibly, Amazon has an even larger growth opportunity with its cloud computing business than its e-commerce and advertising operations. Amazon Web Services, or AWS, is the No. 1 provider of cloud infrastructure services in the world. The global cloud computing market is projected to exceed $1.2 trillion by 2027, up from roughly $545 billion in 2022, according to Markets and Markets.
AWS is already a powerful profit driver, with $22.9 billion in operating income over the trailing 12 months. And it's poised to grow much bigger as more organizations migrate their processes to the cloud in the coming decade.
Amazon's shares are cheap
Despite these intriguing expansion prospects, Amazon's stock can be had for a bargain price. Following its sharp decline in 2022, its shares are now trading for less than 22 times its cash flow from operations. That's near the bottom of its typical range. It's also a great price for a competitively dominant enterprise that analysts forecast will increase its earnings at an annual clip of greater than 25% over the next five years.
2023 could bring several positive catalysts
Recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and other news sources suggests that inflation may have peaked and could continue to fall. That would be a boon for Amazon.
Lower oil prices would reduce shipping costs for Amazon's e-commerce business. A decline in natural gas prices would lessen electricity costs for AWS. And a weaker job market could make it easier for Amazon to recruit workers for its sprawling fulfillment network while alleviating pressure on wages.
These potential catalysts could help to drive Amazon's profits sharply higher in 2023. If you buy now, you can position yourself to profit alongside the e-commerce and cloud computing leader.