E-commerce stocks have exploded in recent weeks and months, especially those of tech companies that connect retailers with customers online. Investors in Shopify, MercadoLibre, and The Trade Desk have doubled their money so far in 2020, and the year's not over yet! If you haven't bought in yet, though, those shares are looking pretty pricey right now.
No worries -- there are plenty of other big trends in the market, and lots of companies poised to ride them to big growth over the next 10 years. Here are three stocks that are much smaller than Shopify, but look ready to ride that same explosive growth trend in the future.
Livongo Health: Harnessing technology for better health
Livongo Health (NASDAQ: LVGO) has also seen wild growth in 2020, with shares up more than 400% year to date. That's in part because, while sales of the company's diabetes-monitoring platform have grown, it's still addressing barely a sliver of its potential market.
While many people with diabetes rely on frequent at-home testing to monitor blood glucose levels, Livongo's platform goes a step further, using data analytics to actively assist patients in managing their condition. That's expected to result in better health outcomes over the long term, which should reduce overall healthcare costs. Livongo has also adapted its technology to offer a platform for managing hypertension.
Like most healthcare options, Livongo's subscription platform is only available to customers whose employers -- and their healthcare plans -- have signed up to offer it. That list is small, but constantly growing. For example, Livongo announced that four new Fortune 500 companies have signed up this year, and other existing customers have expanded their support. With an estimated 10.5% of the U.S. population living with diabetes, and almost half of U.S. adults living with hypertension, Livongo still has tons of room to grow.
Upwork: Expanding the gig economy
When many people think of the "gig economy," they think of drivers for Uber or Lyft. However, freelance work comes in all shapes and sizes, and it frequently involves a specialty niche such as accounting, law, or technical writing.
Companies looking for a contract worker with a specific skill set for a short-term project may not know how much compensation to offer or what questions to ask to make sure an applicant is qualified. Online freelance marketplace Upwork (NASDAQ: UPWK) takes out the guesswork by allowing companies to post project descriptions on its site and receive confidential bids from contractors interested in the work. Companies can interview, hire, and even pay the freelancers through Upwork's site. It's proven to be a popular model: During Q2 2020, Upwork's revenue increased by 19% year over year, exceeding management's expectations.
Workers who are between jobs or underemployed have long turned to freelance work to provide additional income, and gig economy workers with niche skills can struggle to find clients. As the disruption of the traditional workplace continues, Upwork is poised to take advantage.
Stag Industrial: An alternative bet on e-commerce
E-commerce may be big already, but its growth is only likely to continue over the next decade as more and more people discover the ease of shopping online. And while tech companies that support e-commerce have seen their shares double in 2020, Stag Industrial (NYSE: STAG), a real estate investment trust (REIT), has notched growth of just 7.8%.
Stag buys industrial facilities and leases the space to clients. Its strategy has been to avoid pricey real estate in major markets like New York City, instead looking for spaces in smaller towns that can still serve population centers. For example, you may never have heard of Burlington, N.J., or Taunton, Mass., where Stag owns distribution centers. But you've heard of Philadelphia (just 20 miles from Burlington) and Boston (40 miles from Taunton). Stag signed major leases in both towns this year to an unidentified "dominant e-commerce tenant" (which may have been Amazon).
As more companies move to e-commerce, demand for warehouse and distribution space should only grow. Stag is in the right niche at the right time, and its current 4.4% dividend will reward investors for waiting.
Growth: a risky business
Of course, these trends may not pan out. Smaller companies have more room to grow, but there's always the possibility that a competitor might put out something better, or that the company will be outgunned by a major established player entering the space. And then some trends just never catch on.
While growth investing is inherently risky, the trends of improving healthcare technology, a growing gig economy, and e-commerce growth should be huge. And that makes Livongo Health, Upwork, and Stag Industrial good bets for impressive growth.
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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. John Bromels owns shares of Amazon, The Trade Desk, and Upwork. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Livongo Health Inc, MercadoLibre, Shopify, Stag Industrial, and The Trade Desk. The Motley Fool recommends Uber Technologies and Upwork and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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