How Much Can Netflix Grow in the Next Few Years?

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Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) has been on the rise over the past few years, really hitting its stride in 2015 before backing off slightly this year. The company can attribute its growth during this time to a solid expansion of its subscriber base, as well as new and attractive content development. But Netflix could be looking to hit a key milestone for its subscriber growth over the next few years.

Currently this online streaming giant has nearly 80 million total paying subscribers, according to IHS Markit, a leader in critical information, analytics and solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide. By 2018, this firm predicts that international subscribers will overtake the number of domestic subscribers in the United States for the first time, and even further that by 2020 Netflix will have 75 million international subscribers.

If we look at the historical growth, the total number of Netflix subscribers grew 30% between 2014 and 2015 and is forecast to grow 21% in 2016 as territorial expansion reaches its peak, says IHS Technology.

By 2018, Netflix is expected to break the 100 million-subscriber mark. The number of Netflix International paying subscribers is forecast to grow 38% in 2016, with more than 2.8 million of these new paying subscribers coming from the new markets that Netflix launched in at the beginning of this year.

Looking even further ahead, by 2020, Netflix global revenues are expected to reach $13 billion, with 53% accounted for by Netflix International markets. Domestic streaming revenues are expected to hit $6.2 billion by 2020, and international revenues to reach $7 billion.

As a result, new territories rolled out in 2016 are forecast to grow their paying membership base by 133% and 62% in 2017 and 2018, respectively. By 2020, subscribers in countries rolled out in 2016 will represent a quarter of all international subscribers, reaching 19 million.

Irina Kornilova, senior analyst at IHS Technology, commented:

With the worldwide launch, Netflix has launched a platform upon which it can build and differentiate the service to fit specifics of every region in the future. Netflix is starting this localisation process in Poland and Turkey this year. Subscribers in these countries can expect an addition of local languages to the user interface, subtitles and dubbing of content. This will help drive new subscriber numbers dramatically.

Netflix has been in a slump so far in 2016, with the stock down nearly 17%. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock is only down 8%.

Shares of Netflix were around $96 in early trading indications Tuesday. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $105.08 and a 52-week trading range of $79.95 to $133.27.