Analyse aandeel - Aanbevolen Aandeel heeft een van de grootste concurrentievoordelen in de retailsector en blijft verstorend werken voor traditionele winkeliers. (Engelstalig rapport)

R.J. Hottovy, CFA 05 januari, 2015 | 16:55
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Amazon has played a prominent role in the structural shift away from brick-and-mortar retail, and it may lay waste to several other retailers in the years to come. Without the cost burden of physical stores, Amazon can price below traditional rivals and drive recurring traffic online. Even with online sales tax collection, we believe Amazon can maintain its value proposition through other means, including adjustments to shipping policies or Amazon Prime. Aided by the network effect inherent in 260 million active users and recent fulfillment infrastructure, technology, and content investments, Amazon owns one of the wider economic moats in the consumer sector and is likely to remain a disruptive force in retail, digital media, and cloud computing.

Amazon's growth potential is undeniable. Key top-line metrics, including active users (a 22% compound annual growth rate the past five years), total physical and digital units sold (38% CAGR), and third-party units sold (48% CAGR), continue to outpace global e-commerce trends, suggesting that Amazon is gaining share while fortifying its network effect. Nevertheless, based on operating margins of 1.0% in 2013 (2.7% excluding stock-based compensation and amortization of intangibles), our fair value estimate seemingly requires a leap of faith based on whether the company will be able to monetize its growth.

We acknowledge that Amazon's margin expansion is less visible than its growth trajectory, given its investment cycle, including international fulfillment capacity (namely China) and content deals, AmazonFresh, smartphones and other hardware devices, and new delivery capacity and technologies. Admittedly, some of these capital decisions haven't yielded strong returns (the Fire Phone, in particular). However, based on the strength of its network effect, we remain optimistic that Amazon will approach 4% operating margins by 2018 (5% excluding stock-based compensation and amortization of intangibles), driven by Amazon Prime memberships and fee increases, monetization of Amazon Web Services, leverage from fulfillment center investments ("getting closer to the consumer"), and third-party fulfillment services.


Economic Moat   Fair value   Stewardship Rating   Amazon
Wide   USD 375,00   Exemplary  
Moat Trend   Uncertainty   Sector  
Stable   High   

Cyclische consumptiegoederen
- retail



  • Amazon dominates the online retail landscape with 2014 product sales of more than $50 billion (excluding services), roughly equal the next nine closest nonauction competitors combined.

  • With more than half of the world's Internet users coming from developing markets, Amazon has a tremendous global opportunity.

  • The Kindle products and complementary devices like Fire TV and Amazon Dash represent intriguing customer acquisition and retention tools that capitalize on the shift to digital media while promoting Prime memberships and cloud computing capabilities.



  • Amazon's margin expansion is less visible than its growth, given its current investment cycle. We believe the market will be hesitant to reward the stock a premium without demonstrating stronger returns on recent capital investments.

  • International growth brings unique challenges, including changing e-commerce laws, infrastructure investments, and incumbent competitors in some overseas markets.

  • The company relies on several delivery companies for distribution. If demand becomes too great, Amazon may have to invest more in its own fulfillment capacity or delivery alternatives.




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Over de auteur

R.J. Hottovy, CFA  R. J. Hottovy, CFA, is a director of equity analysis with Morningstar.

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