Retail

2 Giants Will Dominate Online Holiday Sales

Face it, everybody you know, including yourself, loves the ease and the convenience of shopping online. No driving to crowded malls and fighting hordes of shoppers out to get loss-leaders that are designed to drag traffic into stores. Combine the convenience, with the fact that more and more consumers feel comfortable with the safety and security of Internet shopping, and you have a winning combination.

A new research report, Jefferies has two massive favorites when it comes to e-commerce, and with the holiday shopping season literally starting for some now, these stocks could get a huge fourth-quarter lift.

Also note that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT), a primarily brick-and-mortar retailer fighting back against the Internet giants, has already posted its Black Friday specials. This is meant to help drive in-store and online sales for the retail giant.

Amazon

This is the absolute leader in online retail, and also a dominate player in cloud storage business, and it just crushed earnings last week. Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) serves consumers through retail websites, such as Amazon.com and Amazon.ca, which primarily include merchandise and content purchased for resale from vendors and those offered by third-party sellers.

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Jefferies notes that, according to ChannelAdvisor, same-store-sales for third-party sellers on the Amazon platform were up more than 16% year-over year in October, more than 19% in September and a stunning 25% plus in August. In fact, the firm thinks that Amazon is growing two to three times faster than overall e-commerce and almost 10 times faster than overall retail.

In addition to its massive retail presence, Amazon serves developers and enterprises through Amazon Web Services (AWS), which provides compute, storage, database, analytics, applications and deployment services that enable virtually various businesses. One top Wall Street analyst calls AWS “the fastest-growing enterprise technology company in history.” The stock is up a whopping 60% since financials for AWD were included in the first quarter report this year. With huge growth following, the analyst concedes that while others have figured out this play, it is by no mean ubiquitous at this point.

Other Wall Street analysts have noted that Amazon had outstanding unit and revenue growth. They also note that the online retail giant’s fulfillment advantage over peers may end up being one of the most significant silos in the company’s overall business structure.

The Jefferies price target for the stock is $775. The Thomson/First Call consensus target is $720.11. The stock closed Wednesday at $673.25.

Alphabet

Jefferies is extremely bullish on this Internet behemoth as well. Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), formerly known as Google, hit the ball out of the park when it posted an incredible third-quarter numbers. The 21% year-over-year revenue print was a strong increase over the 18% in the second quarter. The strong mobile search figures also should tone down bearish Wall Street analysts concerned about mobile monetization. Toss in a shareholder friendly $5 billion stock buyback, and all systems are go. Trading at a very reasonable 12 times EBITDA, the search giant could be headed much much higher.

Once again, Jefferies notes that the sale figures and growth are absolutely gargantuan. According to ChannelAdvisor, Google Shopping product list ads (PLAs), same-store sales grew more than 32% year-over-year in October, more than 46% in September and more than 27% in August. Google AdWords to PLAs, which started in July, still continues particularly among retailers with lower average-order-value. In other words, the metrics are staggering and the growth is insane.

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In addition, the company remains the undisputed leader in Internet search. When a diverse portfolio that includes everything from the Android platform to YouTube, Google Wallet for automatic pay to the Google Flights tool, are added in, continued growth is not out of the question. YouTube watch time accelerated a massive 60% year over year, and the average view session was up 50% to 40 minutes. The YouTube surge represented the best growth in two years.

The Jefferies price target is a staggering $900, and the consensus target is $853.67. The stock closed most recently at $765.25.

UPS

There is an ancillary winner as a result of the e-commerce giants’ huge success. United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions, including the transportation of packages and freight; the facilitation of international trade; and the deployment of advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide.

All the millions of online purchases have to be delivered, and that has been a huge boon to the bottom line of UPS. Statistics have shown a sharp increase every year. In fact, the National Retail Federation predicts that holiday sales in 2015 are expected to represent approximately 19% of the retail industry’s annual sales of $3.2 trillion. They are also forecasting online sales to increase between 6% and 8% to as much as $105 billion.

Investors receive a solid 2.8% dividend. The consensus price target is $109.14. The stock closed Wednesday at $104.80.

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The bottom line is that when it comes to retail e-commerce dominance, bigger is better. In addition, it is highly unlikely that in the near term that somebody comes in and knocks either of the two behemoths off their respective pedestals.