The shares of Amazon are an excellent long-term investment idea. In the 10 years up to March 31, 2020, shares have risen by 1340% - more than seven times compared to 176% of the S&P 500 profit for this period. In other words, the $1,000 invested ten years ago in Amazon would bring in $14,400. That amount invested in indices would have brought in about $2,760.
Given the size of Amazon, investors need to question whether it can continue to grow and continue to generously reward shareholders. Here are 8 reasons to buy Amazon shares and think about holding them for the long term.
Shares in Amazon also look great in the short term for investment. In 2020, Amazon shares rose by 5.5% while the S&P 500 (including dividends) fell by 19.6% over this period due to investors' concerns about the economic impact of a coronavirus pandemic.
The company is managed by the founder. Studies have shown that stocks of companies headed by their founders tend to grow faster than the market. On the positive side, Amazon is headed by Jeff Bezos, who founded it in 1994. He owned about 11.2% of the company, according to his last deal on March 1. His shares are worth more than $108 billion when the market closed on March 31. This stake should provide Bezos with enough incentive to manage the company in such a way as to increase its value in the long run.
The number of Amazon Prime users is growing rapidly. The total number of Prime consumers is growing. In January, Amazon announced that there are over 150 million users of Amazon Prime in the world. In 2018, the company said that there are more than 100 million customers in the world. This growth is important because it was found that Prime subscribers spend more money on the company's website than customers who do not subscribe. One study found out that the annual spending of the company's average consumer is more than twice that of the average non-member consumer.
Online sales continue to capture the American market share from physical store sales. Americans are increasingly opting to shop online, which provides a win-win for Amazon's business. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, e-commerce accounted for 11.4% of all U.S. retail sales in the fourth quarter of 2019. In all of 2019, 11% of total retail sales were online, compared to 9.9% in 2018. The volume of e-sales will never approach 100% of total retail sales. But of course, there is great potential for growth.
The popularity of online stores continues to grow worldwide. Amazon's international business is also poised to continue to benefit from this global shift towards online shopping. E-commerce accounted for 14.1% of all retail sales worldwide in 2019, up from 12.2% in 2018. This figure is expected to reach 22% in 2023.
The Amazon Cloud Service is a profit-making machine. Amazon Web Services (AWS) generates most of the company's profit. In Q4 2019, AWS accounted for just over 11 percent of total revenue, but 67 percent of total operating profit. AWS, the market leader in public cloud space, continues to grow at a rapid pace: the company's revenue grew 34% year-on-year in Q4. According to Canalys, growth should continue to be strong as the cloud infrastructure market is projected to grow by 32% in 2020.
E-commerce business will never be overthrown. Amazon is the largest online retailer in the US and the world. It is so far ahead of the U.S. market (and making good progress abroad) and has strong support that it is unlikely to be overthrown by any of its competitors. The company's main competitive advantage is the free and fast delivery of a huge range of products to Prime. This main advantage is only possible thanks to an extensive network of highly efficient and large Amazon order processing centers. Duplication of this network will be very expensive. And even if a competitor succeeds in copying physical structures, it will probably take many years to reach Amazon`s efficiency levels. Currently, the company has 170 distribution centers in the U.S., according to the logistics consultant MWPVL International, plans to have 51 more distribution centers. It has 188 such centers outside the country. These figures do not include delivery stations and various other types of facilities.
Amazon has many more opportunities for growth: smart home, healthcare, advertising, private label products. There are many other reasons to long Amazon shares. These include the company's growing smart home business, which focuses on Alexa's Artificial Intelligence assistant, and the emerging health care business, which includes the PillPack online pharmacy. Besides, the e-commerce business is increasing its advertising revenue and the company is expanding the number of private label products it sells.