GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) punished shareholders last year, with its stock plummeting more than 74%. Unfortunately, things got worse for loyal GoPro fans this week when the stock fell another 20%, bringing its share price to around $12 a pop.
Last year, it was slowing sales of GoPro's mountable cameras and questions about its pricing power as a premier camera brand that sent investors running for the exits. Today, the market pummeled GoPro yet again after the company announced it would fire as much as 7% of its workforce. The camera maker also said fourth-quarter revenue would be significantly lower than previously expected. Ouch.
Adding insult to injury, Analysts worry that GoPro's software makes it difficult to quickly edit the raw footage captured by its cameras. Many on Wall Street believe this could hinder GoPro's ability to sell new hardware at the breakneck pace it has achieved in the past. The critics aren't wrong.
As I explained in a recent article, the company admits it needs to revamp the ease-of-use of its software, and it's currently in the process of doing just that. GoPro also plans to increase its spending on marketing and advertising efforts in the quarters ahead in order to reinvigorate sales of its existing cameras. This too is something GoPro's management has committed to fix in the new year.
However, these initiatives will take time to play out, which means GoPro's stock will likely remain under pressure throughout the bulk of 2016. In the meantime, investors should instead consider buying shares of more established consumer favorites such as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX).
A possible buyout opportunity
Apple's stock has also fallen in 2016, albeit only modestly, inching down 7% year to date compared to an 18% drop in shares of GoPro over the same period. Nonetheless, the precipitous decline in GoPro's shares could make it an attractive takeover target for the tech giant. Apple, after all, has a $200 billion cash hoard on its balance sheet. Not to mention, the iPhone maker has already shown interest in entering GoPro's market as a direct competitor.
Last year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark office approved dozens of Apple patents with applications for mountable cameras that could be controlled by an iPhone or Apple watch, according to Patently Apple. With GoPro's stock now trading at a new all-time low, this could be an opportune time for Apple to scoop up the popular action camera maker at a discount.
Even if that doesn't happen, Apple is still a rewarding stock for investors to own in 2016. Unlike GoPro, Apple is both a growth stock and a smart income play since it rewards shareholders with dividends and stock buybacks.
Apple currently pays an annual dividend of $2.08 per share. This affords it a dividend yield north of 2%, which is in line with the S&P 500. Additionally, Apple's stock is attractively priced today based on its price-to-earnings growth rate of 0.76, which is significantly below the industry average PEG of 2.23 today. From its attractive valuation to its proven track record as a growth company, I believe Apple stock is a more reliable buy today versus GoPro.
International growth and dividends abound
Starbucks represents another established growth stock that should reward investors in the year ahead. Unlike GoPro stock, shares of Starbucks have rallied in the past year, climbing nearly 45%. The stock currently trades around $58, or near the high end of its 52-week range. That means investors are paying a slight premium for Starbucks' stock now. However, it should pay off down the road as Starbucks has proven itself capable of outperforming the market time and again.
International expansion in China promises to be a massive growth driver for the company going forward. While many U.S. companies are bearish on the Chinese economy, Starbucks is doubling down on its investments in the Asia Pacific region. This prescient move will fuel earnings growth for the company down the road.
The java retailer plans to operate as many as 3,400 Starbucks locations throughout China by 2019. For those keeping score, that is up from the 2,000 Starbucks stores that are currently open across 100 Chinese cities today. "As Starbucks' second largest and fastest-growing market globally, China represents the most important and exciting opportunity ahead of us," said Howard Schultz, Starbucks' chief executive.
Schultz believes China could become Starbucks' largest market in the years to come. He may be on to something. Chinese coffee consumption is on pace to rise as much as 18% annually over the next three years, compared to a rise of less than 1% in U.S. coffee consumption, according to Euromonitor. With more than a decade's head start in China, Starbucks is ahead of the coffee curve in the Asian country.
Ultimately, Starbucks appears to have a winning strategy in China. That, together with strong domestic sales and a robust digital platform should enable Starbucks to continue rewarding shareholders for many years to come.
Growth versus momentum
GoPro's tragic fall from grace should remind investors that there is a difference between growth stocks and momentum stocks. GoPro has lost the momentum that recently made it one of the hottest initial public offerings on Wall Street. Looking ahead, investors will be better served with proven growth names like Apple and Starbucks. That's because these consumer stocks offer you reliability, income, and growth in the new year without the volatile aftertaste that will likely accompany GoPro's stock throughout much of 2016.