JD.com Inc (JD -0.95%), one of China's largest online retailers, has had a turbulent market history. The stock shot up from US$20 in 2016 to US$50 in early 2018. Then things went downhill.
Throughout 2018, JD's revenue growth slowed and operating margins retreated. Investors fled in droves, as JD's share price fell back to US$20 by the close of 2018.
Volatility considered, it's fair that investors are now approaching JD with a good amount of skepticism. But the reality is that JD still has a lot of room to grow. The company's stock has already moved up during 2019 as the company announced improved profits and revenue growth.
In the short term, it looks like JD is gearing up for a strong earnings report (due to be released on Friday). Beyond that, developments in the Chinese market have set the company up for continued growth in the future.
Here are a few things investors with a longer-term perspective should keep in mind if they're looking at buying JD.com shares.
1. Earnings outlook is bright
One of the best reasons to buy JD's stock right now is to get ahead of the company's third-quarter 2019 earnings report.
JD has had a strong 2019, setting the company up for a positive third-quarter earnings report. According to analysts at Zack's Equity, JD is projected to report earnings of US$0.18 a share, marking year-on-year growth of 50%. Analysts also project the company will report quarterly revenue of US$18.40 billion, an increase of 20.62% from the prior year.
JD's growth over the course of 2019 could stem from a range of factors including the US-China trade war. The company still primarily caters to the Chinese market, despite outreach efforts through an English website.
With Chinese consumer spending on the rise, JD is set up for even more growth in the coming year. Which brings me to my next point.
2. Chinese consumers spending and will keep spending
Despite the trade war and a general slowdown of the Chinese economy, Chinese consumers are still spending. And these consumers are likely to keep spending in the future.
The country's unemployment rate has dropped to an all-time low of 3.6% in 2019, with rates rising. The average wage has increased by 6% year-over-year in 2019. Facing this kind of security, it's likely that Chinese consumers are going to keep spending, and a company like JD is an excellent company for them to continue to spend.
This consumer spending will likely help stabilize JD's revenue growth rate. The company has evolved to cater to a range of consumer needs, delivering everything from fruit to batteries at high speeds. Best of all, customers can engage with JD while on the bus, during their commute, or at any stage of the day through the company's app.
This brings us another reason that JD will likely continue to grow in the future: China's mobile market is still growing.
3. China's mobile market still growing strongly
China now has more mobile internet users than the entire population of Europe, and this number is only likely to grow with the advent of 5G and the expansion of China's current cellular networks.
Eight hundred million people out of China's 1.4 billion person population are connected to the internet. That means that while China is the world's biggest e-commerce market, there is also still significant room for growth.
According to Statista, around 54% of the Chinese population accessed the internet from a mobile device. With the growth of cellular networks and rising household incomes, this number is expected to increase to 63% by 2023.
With its massive network of warehouses and an expansive delivery network, JD is in a unique position to profit from the steady growth of Chinese internet users, especially in rural areas.
With Chinese consumer spending on the rise and more Chinese consumers preparing to engage with the mobile market, JD's growth prospects are looking strong.
The company has already risen to become an internet juggernaut on the back of mobile Chinese consumer spending, and with its vast networks of warehouses and delivery, vehicles are well-prepared to continue growing in this market.
Beyond that, the company has performed well over 2019, setting it up for a positive earnings report. This will likely buoy investor confidence in an otherwise beaten-down stock.
A version of this article originally appeared on our Fool Asia site. For more coverage like this head over to Fool.hk.en.