The recession and the COVID-19 pandemic have been locked together since the Dow Jones industrials and S&P 500 hit their all-time highs in mid-February. While the market sell-off turned into a panic, a stark reality set in that companies that revolve around home delivery, e-commerce and digitization were going to be the new economic winners. In fact, this trend is now secular and companies that do not or cannot may have little room nor reason to exist.
Investors have chased this trend with no concern at all about valuations. There is also a “fear of missing out” (FOMO) effect that has pulled in investment dollars every week. If the trends of greed and fear are driving investment decisions, it is without question that “greed,” even if it is the good kind of greed, is at work in shares of Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP).
Valuing Shopify using traditional price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios or price-to-sales estimates now may seem to be nearly impossible, but after a 5% gain to over $860 per share, Shopify is valued at roughly $103 billion. That just made Shopify the most valuable Canadian company by market capitalization. Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE: RY) was the largest company by market cap, valued at $98 billion.
It may seem a bit ironic that RBC Capital Markets just signaled even larger upside on Shopify as the e-commerce and digitization platform passed RBC in value. That’s just what happened. RBC’s Mark Mahaney reiterated his Outperform rating on Shopify and raised his price target to $1,000 from $850. This appears to be a new street-high price target.
As for the FOMO trade, investors cannot look at the $0.64 per share earnings and $2.9 billion in revenues that Refinitiv has as the consensus estimates for 2021. Even with an expected growth of 30% in revenues, that in rounding terms would be somewhere around 1,000 times earnings and roughly 35 times revenues, even using next year’s estimates.
With its shares now up over 100% year to date, and up 160% from March’s lows, it goes without saying that people still believe Shopify has much more room to grow. The reality is that the Canadian company still has exponential growth opportunities and investors are now using the same metrics they used for Amazon a decade or two ago. That is using five-year and 10-year outlooks to see where the company would be.
Mahaney’s price target upgrade has three main points. The total addressable market is massive and still offers room for Shopify to develop new efforts for companies and to steal away business from competition. There is also an opportunity for its so-called take rate (what it takes from transactions) from customers. And the main view here down the road is an ability to see significant margin expansion.
A key issue driving those three major takeaways is that Mahaney sees the customer buying patterns that have come into play may now be permanent. This puts all of the “me too” brick-and-mortar retailers of yesteryear at risk if they just offer general merchandise that can be bought anywhere. If they were deemed nonessential during the forced closures, Shopify has major opportunities ahead.
Investors have been amazed by Shopify’s resilience to come roaring back after every pullback. The stock became overbought and ripe for a correction within the past month, and right after it corrected it came roaring back. Even its huge capital raise was hardly even noticed for more than a couple of days.
24/7 Wall St. has a permanent warning to its readers that no single analyst report should ever be used as a sole reason to buy or sell a stock. After rising above $869 a share for an all-time high on Thursday, the prior consensus analyst price target from Refinitiv was still down at $733.40.
Monday’s top analyst calls showed a rival upgrade on Shopify from Piper Sandler, and its price target now is already passed up.
As for other drivers behind Shopify’s perceived upside, the recent Walmart pact to target Amazon’s dominance is perhaps the greatest endorsement that could be made. Shopify’s ongoing cross-border targeting is also a force that could drive its estimates much higher in the coming years.