Online Holiday Sales Off to a Huge Start: 5 Companies That Could Benefit the Most

Print Email

December is here, and not only is the year coming to a close but incredibly so is the decade. Over the past 10 years, online holiday shopping has exploded. With online sales up 15% year over year on Thanksgiving and a stunning 20% on Black Friday, Cyber Monday sales are expected to hit a record $9.4 billion. Most on Wall Street feel that this reflects a very healthy consumer and an improving online shopping experience.

A new SunTrust research report notes that increasingly wider product selection, free and very fast shipping, and the ability of customers to order online and pick up in the store are all big reasons for the continued surge in growth.

The analysts feel that five companies in their coverage universe are poised to be big winners this year, and the stocks are rated Buy.

Alphabet

The search giant continues to expand and, while search is king, the cloud presence is growing fast. Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) is a global technology company focused on key areas, such as search, advertising, operating systems and platforms, enterprise and hardware products. It generates revenue primarily by delivering online advertising and by selling apps and contents on Google Play, as well as hardware products. The company provides its products and services in more than 100 languages and in 190 countries, regions and territories.

Alphabet offers performance and brand advertising services. It operates through Google and Other Bets segments. The Google segment includes principal internet products, such as Search, Ads, Commerce, Maps, YouTube, Apps, Cloud, Android, Chrome and Google Play, as well as technical infrastructure and newer efforts, such as virtual reality.

Google has outlined expanding capabilities to facilitate commerce, capitalizing on the “treasure trove” of data provided by seven different properties, each with at least a billion active users (Android, Search, Chrome, Maps, Play, YouTube and Gmail).

Advertising remains a huge growth area, and the analysts expect the company to be a huge holiday winner as vendors look to reach the biggest possible audience.

SunTrust has a $1,500 price target for the shares, while the Wall Street consensus target is $1,462.02. The stock closed Monday’s trading at $1,288.86 per share.

Amazon

This company is the absolute leader in online holiday shopping. Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) serves consumers through retail websites that primarily include merchandise and content purchased for resale from vendors and those offered by third-party sellers. It has one of the most valuable brands in the world.

The company serves developers and enterprises through Amazon Web Services, which provides computing, storage, database, analytics, applications and deployment services that enable virtually various businesses. AWS is also the undisputed leader in the cloud now, and many top analysts see the company expanding and moving up the enterprise information value chain and targeting a larger total addressable market.

The company reported less than stellar earnings for the third quarter, but SunTrust is very positive, saying this in its report:

We’re incrementally positive on Amazon going into what should be a robust holiday season, given the company’s out sized growth within US eCommerce, of which we estimate they will claim ~37% of total gross merchandise volume this holiday season vs. ~35% last year. This is driven by a broader selection; faster shipping (1-day free shipping on 10 million items) for Prime users and the secular shift online with record store closings.

The SunTrust target price is a whopping $2,350 and compares with the consensus target of $2,167.56 Shares closed most recently at $1,781.60.