Pure play businesses are becoming safer investment options in this uncertain time of COVID-19. These corporations that offer one product can be great investments. But what is the complete picture of pure play? This TradingSim article will explain what a pure play stock is and how their business models work. This article will also pick the top 10 pure play businesses investors can choose.
Table of Contents
What is a pure play stock?
A pure play business focuses on selling only one product. For example, Starbucks (NYSE:SBUX) stock just specializes in coffee. Tiffany &Co. (NYSE:TIF) stock focuses exclusively on luxury jewelry. Many pure play businesses are value stocks because they are able to excel in one field.
What is a pure play business model?
A pure play business model helps a company stand out. For example, if a company like Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) only produces electric cars, it can have an advantage over Ford (NYSE:F). Tesla noticed its difference from other car stocks in its IPO prospectus.
“We design, develop, manufacture and sell high-performance fully electric vehicles and advanced electric vehicle powertrain components. We have intentionally departed from the traditional automotive industry model by both exclusively focusing on electric powertrain technology and owning our vehicle sales and service network,” said Tesla in its IPO launch.
As opposed to diversified stocks, pure play stocks focus on one specific sector. While Coca-Cola(NYSE:KO) is purely a beverage company, Pepsi (NASDAQ:PEP) has food and drink products.
Tesla stands apart with its business model
Because Tesla focuses on electric cars, Tesla can have more control of production of its vehicles. Founder Elon Musk noted that being selective about Tesla’s car production helped the company stand out.
“If we could have [mass marketed] our first product, we would have, but that was simply impossible to achieve for a startup company that had never built a car and that had one technology iteration,” said Musk.
In addition to dominance in production, Tesla’s business model means that the corporation can have more direct interaction with customers. In opposition to car companies that sell through dealerships, Tesla sells its vehicles directly to customers in its own. That enables Tesla to reach a large number of customers.
Tesla also offers its own charging stations for its vehicles. That insular production of electric vehicle accessories also helps the company’s singular pure play business model.
Is pure play a good investment strategy?
As an investment strategy, pure play can be effective. There are some advantages to having a pure play stock strategy. For beginning investors, pure play stocks can have an analysis that’s easier to understand.
What are the benefits of trading pure play stocks?
If a trader is investing in Coke, they just have to follow trends in the beverage industry. With Coca-Cola stock, the company’s revenue stream and business model are easy to understand.
However, with Pepsi, there are many different food and drink sectors to track. In a diversified stock, there are varied metrics to measure. Because they tend to dominate certain industries, if they perform well, they can pay off larger dividends for investors. In a bull market, pure play stocks can enjoy a longer period of high returns, especially if they’re growth stocks.
What are the risks in trading pure play stocks?
While there are benefits to pure play, there are downsides as well. If an industry is struggling, then a pure play stock will likely tumble. After COVID-19 shut down the cruise industry, Royal Caribbean( NYSE:RCL) stock fell by double digits. Exposure to one industry can also hurt investors in a bear market when stocks are falling. Pure play investing can be riskier because there is less protection against a decline in stock prices.
What are the top 10 pure play stocks?
The following stocks are some of the most effective pure play businesses. These stocks can pay off for investors with their focus in a specific industry.
Netflix(NASDAQ:NFLX) is perhaps the most successful pure play stock in the stock market today. Even though the company started as a DVD rental service , the company moved on to dominate the streaming entertainment space.
When Netflix started, co-founders Reed Hastings and Mark Randolph wanted just wanted to create a mail-order DVD rental service.
“We were sitting down having coffee one morning in Santa Cruz and we were talking about whether or not you could mail a DVD in a first-class envelope or not,” Randolph remembers.
“Movies over the internet are coming, and at some point it will become big business,” said Hastings in an interview.
“We started investing 1 percent to 2 percent of revenue every year in downloading, and I think it’s tremendously exciting because it will fundamentally lower our mailing costs. We want to be ready when video-on-demand happens. That’s why the company is called Netflix, not DVD-by-Mail,”, added Hastings.
Even though Netflix added 16 million subscribers in Q1 2020, Hastings noted that he was uncertain how Q2 2020 earnings would be in the future. With the economy re-opening, Hastings thinks there will be fewer subscribers staying at home.
“We don’t use the words guess and guesswork lightly. We use them because it’s a bunch of us feeling the wind and it’s hard to say. But again, will internet entertainment be more and more important over the next five years? Nothing’s changed in that,” said Hastings.
Analysts bullish on Netflix stock
Despite Hastings’ uncertainty, many financial analysts think Netflix will increase its subscriber base. Analysts at Jefferies rate Netflix as a buy. Because of the company’s international growth, Jefferies analysts wrote in a note to clients that Netflix should perform well in Q2 2020 even if subscription rates increase.
“Importantly, our revenue growth assumes a 15% subscriber CAGR[ and just a 3% ARPU [average revenue per user] CAGR(compound annual growth rate), mitigating the bear thesis that sizable price hikes are necessary,” wrote the analysts.
The Jefferies analysts also noted that they believe that Netflix’s positive operating cash flow will help the corporation remain profitable.
“We believe NFLX[Netflix] will soon reach sustained FCF[free cash flow] profitability, in which it will be able to self-fund content and become less reliant on tapping the capital markets,” wrote the analysts.
Netflix’s pure play business model of focusing on streaming entertainment has paid off. Investors looking for a successful pure play stock can pick the streaming company’s stock.
Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) is a classic example of a pure play business. The corporation focuses exclusively on selling its syrup to other bottling companies to manufacture.
Coca-Cola produces about 500 beverages. As customers turn away from sugary drinks, the company is branching out into energy drinks, bottled water, tea, and coffee. By putting more of the bottling and manufacturing responsibilities to outside sources, Coke has become very profitable.
Coca-Cola impacted by nationwide shutdown
While Coca-Cola is a top pure play stock, the nationwide shutdown has hurt Coke’s sales. Many Coke sales are through restaurants and sporting events. With the closure of restaurants and cancellation of games, Coke’s revenue dropped 1% to $860 billion. Coca-Cola’s CEO, James Quincey, said that with the coronavirus outbreak shutting down businesses, he wasn’t sure how the company’s future results would be.
“The ultimate impact on the second quarter and full-year 2020 is unknown at this time, as it will depend heavily on the duration of social distancing and shelter-in-place mandates, as well as the substance and pace of macroeconomic recovery. However, the impact to the second quarter will be material,” said Quincey.
‘We’ve been through challenging times before as a company, and we believe we’re well-positioned to manage through and emerge stronger,” said Quincey.
Coca-Cola a strong pure play stock to financial experts
Even though Coca-Cola’s Q1 2020 results were disappointing, financial experts still rate Coke stock as a buy. Financial analyst Nicholas Johnson is bullish on the beverage company.
“Despite solid first-quarter results, management opted against issuing formal guidance, and its commentary seemed to portend a pretty ugly second quarter. Nevertheless, we remain confident in the Coca-Cola system’s strategic advantage and believe the right tactical competencies are in place to allow the firm to navigate disparate dynamics across its territories,” said Johnson.
HSBC analyst Carlos Laboy also rates Coke as a buy. He believes that Coke will recover as European and American bottlers re-open their factories. He believes the bottlers are “poised to accelerate their growth contribution [to Coca-Cola’s profits] as they grow into market developers with better tools and a richer service culture.”
Warren Buffett values Coke’s pure play stock
Legendary investor Warren Buffett is a long-time Coke investor. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has $18 billion invested in Coke. Buffett owns 9% of Coca-Cola’s stock because it’s a globally renowned brand with a substantial dividend payout of 3.5%. As a pure play beverage company, Coke’s low debt and reliable dividend makes it a stable choice for investors.
Chewy(NYSE: CHWY) is a pure play e-commerce company that focuses on a subscription-based service for pet food and supplies. Chewy’s business model is to add a personal touch to its customer service. They’re so hands-on with their customers that they even send portraits to customers of their pets.
“Higher spending from our existing customers and growing Autoship sales reflect strong business momentum as more customers continue to shift their spending to Chewy, driving increased basket size and higher repeat purchase activity,” said Singh.
Singh also spoke about how Chewy is poised to expand with more people adopting pets.
“We are proud to be the e-tailer of choice for millions of new and existing pet parents during this unprecedented time. Chewy is well-positioned to thrive in this expanded marketplace, and we remain focused, as always, on our mission of becoming the most trusted and convenient online destination for pet parents (and partners) everywhere,” added Singh.
“Pet product purchases have meaningfully accelerated their online adoption, and we don’t expect a reversion,” said Mahaney.
Some financial experts neutral on Chewy stock
While RBC Capital is bullish on Chewy stock, some financial analysts are neutral on the stock. Jefferies analyst Brent Thill rates Chewy stock as a hold despite its positive earnings report and its“position as a key beneficiary of a shift to online in essential categories (like pet) driven by the pandemic.”
Thill rated Chewy stock as a hold because of the company’s reduced full-year guidance with the unpredictability of the economy later this year. His hold rating is “likely a reflection of Chewy being pragmatic during heightened uncertainty.”
Chewy’s a pure play stock that investors can pick for results. Its dedicated customer service and promising profits make Chewy stock a top pure play
4. Beyond Meat
Beyond Meat(NYSE:BYND) is a pure play meat alternative producer that is performing well. Despite the COVID-19 crisis diminishing sales in restaurants, chief marketing officer Mark Nelson touted the positive Q1 2020 results.
“We maintained our solid top-line momentum while driving our best-ever performance in production unit cost per pound,” said Nelson.
“Despite near-term challenges ahead stemming from the ongoing global health crisis, our improving operating results and continued strength of our balance sheet give us added confidence about the Company’s long-term financial position,” added Nelson.
Analysts bullish on Beyond Meat
Because of Beyond Meat’s positive Q1 2020 results, many financial analysts are bullish on Beyond Meats stock. Steven Strycula of UBS rates Beyond Meat stock as a buy. He asserts that because many restaurants were closed during the quarantine, Beyond Meat can still be sold in grocery stores.
“With foodservice industry traffic down, BYND plans to lean on its retail platform to drive growth and is repurposing production capacity to meet demand,” wrote Strycula in a note to clients.
“One of our mottos at Trulieve is that we grow one patient at a time. In Florida, our patient base are some of the most vulnerable population, and it’s really important that we respond to them not only in a timely manner, but in a very compassionate manner,” said Rivers.
“I think it’s incredibly important, especially in this current phase, for us to be very, very connected with our patient base and responsive in setting that high level of customer service experience. I’m very proud of our team and our ability to be responsive in real-time to patients,” added Rivers.
“Our fourth-quarter results reflect our strong brand and customer loyalty, which were key factors in our success for the year. We continued to grow our footprint in Florida and made significant strides building out the infrastructure needed to maximize efficiencies and achieve economies of scale,” stated Rivers.
Rivers also touted Trulieve’s positive cash flow and expansion of dispensaries.
“Trulieve’s execution of key fundamentals and financial discipline coupled with market share growth this quarter contributed to positive free cash flow, further strengthening our balance sheet and validating our financial stewardship,” added Rivers.
Trulieve a pure play buy for Wall Street analysts
According to financial analysts, Trulieve stock is a strong buy. Many analysts polled by the TipRanks website say shares should rise by 68%. With a bullish outlook from investors and an effective pure play business model, Trulieve could be a top marijuana stock for investors.
Salesforce(NYSE:CRM) is a pure play customer relationship management solution company. The company’s successful business model comes from its early adoption of cloud technology. In addition to offering its own cloud services to customers, Salesforce added customers by letting them build apps on Salesforce as well.
“This [cloud delivery] model made software similar to a utility, akin to paying a monthly electric bill. Why couldn’t customers pay a monthly bill for a service that would run business applications whenever and wherever?”
The corporation had a positive Q1 2021 earnings report with $4 billion in revenue despite the coronavirus outbreak.
“We made long-term investments in keeping our employees safe, supporting our customers, delivering crucial innovation like Work.com, and helping our communities with PPE, grants, and technology. The pandemic showed us that digital is an imperative for every company, and we’re confident Salesforce will continue to accelerate as we bring our customers into the new normal,” said Benioff.
“We[Jefferies] believe we saw a meaningful acceleration in M&A in 2019, and CRM needs to take a breather to digest the Tableau deal, the biggest one so far,” said Thill.
Thill thinks that Tableau’s integration with Salesforce is critical before Salesforce acquires more businesses.
“CRM needs to make sure the integration between the various clouds is seamless before embarking on more M&A,” said Thill.
Thill notes that Salesforce stock will grow because of more businesses using cloud technology because of work-from-home orders.
“We[Jefferies] continue to be positive on CRM and believe there is ample value to unlock. [The long-term] pipeline is robust. We also believe COVID-19 has been accelerator driving more businesses to the cloud, which should benefit CRM,” said Thill.
Salesforce a SaaS pure play stock pick
Salesforce is a successful pure play SaaS( software-as-a-service) company. Morningstar financial analyst Dan Romanoff also agrees that Salesforce is a top pure play stock because of its business model.
“We[Morningstar] believe Salesforce.com represents one of best long-term growth stories in software. After introducing the software-as-a-service model to the world, Salesforce.com has assembled a front-office empire that it can build on for years to come,” said Romanoff.
Like Thill, Abramoff believes that Salesforce’s pure play business model will grow once the corporation integrates the services of Tableau, its latest acquisition.
Salesforce should “benefit further from natural cross-selling among its clouds, upselling more robust features within product lines, pricing actions, international growth, and continued acquisitions,”.
“The tight integration among the [company’s] solutions and the natural fit they have with one another makes for a powerful value proposition,” added Abramoff.
Salesforce has been helping businesses keep track of customer service in the cloud for years. Its customer relationship management dominance makes Salesforce stock a top pure play choice for traders.
Starbucks stock (NYSE:SBUX) is a pure play business that dominates the coffee industry. The Seattle-based coffee company made rare gourmet coffee an everyday treat in its business model. The fast expansion of stores and diverse mix of coffee flavors all helped Starbucks become a top pure play stock.
Starbucks has mixed Q2 2020 results
Because of the COVID-19 crisis, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said that revenue fell to $6 billion. Many Starbucks stores closed down during the pandemic, so Starbucks’ sales slowed.
“As a result, consolidated revenue in Q2 was $6 billion, reflecting a 5% decline compared to prior year, primarily due to a 10% contraction in comparable store sales globally, ” said Johnson.
“Revenue for our Americas segment was flat in Q2 relative to the prior year at $4.3 billion as incremental sales from net new store growth of 3% over the past 12 months was effectively offset by a 3% decline in comparable-store sales,” said Grismer.
While Starbucks had disappointing results, the coffee behemoth did have an increase in its customer loyalty program Starbucks Rewards. Grismer noted that the program had an increase in members.
“Of note, during the second quarter, 90-day active Starbucks Rewards members, our highly routinized, highly engaged and loyal customer base with whom we can directly communicate digitally, increased to 19.4 million in the US, up 15% from a year ago,” said Grismer.
“Starbucks (SBUX) was one of the first US companies to warn investors of the financial hit from the pandemic. But after closing nearly 80% of its stores in China by early February, the company had already re-opened roughly 95% of those stores by March month-end,” said Broyhill.
“We established a position in the stock near it’s lowest valuation in years as we gained confidence that the company’s China stores would fully recover in a couple quarters. In the near term, mobile orders (which represented ~ 80% of China’s sales mix in the last weeks of February) should put a floor under US sales, while the resumption of development in China, with best-in-class unit economics, provides a multi-year runway for expansion,” added Broyhill.
Because Starbucks is a massively popular brand that has many loyal customers, investors can choose Starbucks stock as a pure play coffee stock.
8. Activision Blizzard
Activision Blizzard(NYSE:ATVI) is a gaming pure play stock that has outperformed during the quarantine. With many people stuck inside, Activision monthly users rose 18% . Gamers rushed to play the new Call of Duty game and played mobile games like Candy Crush more as well.
Because of the rise in gaming, the company had a positive Q1 2020 earnings report. Dennis Durkin, Activision’s chief financial officer, spoke about the results.
“Activision revenue was $519 million growing 64% year-over-year. Growth was driven by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone in-game revenues, strong game sales of premium Modern Warfare and the addition of Call of Duty Mobile. Operating income was $184 million with an operating margin of 35%, 12 percentage points higher year-over-year,” said Durkin.
While some many say Activision is too dependent on a few gaming franchises like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, CEO Bobby Kotick thinks the pure play gaming business strategy is still profitable.
“At a time when so many forms of social interactions and entertainment experiences have been shut down, we’re providing entertainment with positive impact for hundreds of millions of people through our games,” said Kotick.
Activision a buy for financial experts
Because of Activision’s dominance as a pure play stock, many financial analysts rate Activision as a buy. Todd Gordon, managing director at Ascent Wealth Partners, is bullish on Activision stock.
“It’s[Activision] a $46 billion market cap. They’ve got franchises like Call of Duty and Candy Crush. They have a better share of mobile gaming. Activision is well-represented across multiple platforms including PC, console, gaming, stuff like that. So, we hold Activision in our global growth portfolio,” said Gordon.
Danielle Shay, director of options at Simpler Trading, also thinks Activision is a pure play stock that investors should choose. She thinks that Activision is a buy because there is an increase in gaming during the quarantine.
“More people are staying at home, they’re looking for entertainment and options at home, and with the client base that these two companies [Activison and another gaming pure play stock Two Play] already have, I think this is going to be fantastic for them,” said Shay.
With a focus on popular games and increased customers, Activision is a successful gaming pure play stock.
Like Activision, Peloton(NYSE:PTON) is a pure play company that’s benefitted from the pandemic shutdown. The exercise bike company’s stock has skyrocketed 100% over the last few months as it attracts more customers.
Peloton’s business model comes from combining an old-school exercise bike with new technology of subscription-based online classes. Founder and CEO John Foley noted that Peloton’s pure play business model ties fitness with tech.
“Peloton is so much more than a Bike — we believe we have the opportunity to create one of the most innovative global technology platforms of our time,” Foley says. “It is an opportunity to create one of the most important and influential interactive media companies in the world; a media company that changes lives, inspires greatness, and unites people,” said Foley.
Peloton has robust Q3 2020 earnings report
Peloton’s Q3 2020 earnings report showed revenue growth from an increase in longer free trial subscriptions to its video service. Foley touted Peloton’s better-than-expected results.
“Early in the COVID crisis, we extended the digital subscription free trial period from 30 days to 90 days resulting in over 1.1 million downloads of Peloton Digital in the past six weeks. We were extremely proud to offer so many people free access to our incredible fitness content during this time,” said Foley.
“I am also proud of our financial performance this quarter with revenue growing 66% year-over-year to $524.6 million. With strong revenue flow-through and leverage against our fixed costs, we achieved our first adjusted EBITDA positive quarter as a public company in Q3 with an adjusted EBITDA margin of 4.5%,” added Foley.
Cowen noted that Peloton is “helped by the pandemic, alongside marketing & logistics efficiencies. PTON(Peloton) also benefits from multi-year secular tailwinds behind the connected home fitness trend that PTON is pioneering. We raised FY20 to FY30 estimates and rolled DCF[discounted cash flow] to ’21; PT[price target] to $70 from $54, maintain Outperform.”
“This company was a first mover. It succeeded in the online fitness and social communities, unlike the other ones [with] hardware offerings like GoPro and Fitbit that I don’t think capitalized. They have a loyal customer base, high retention levels, and good margins from the subscription business”, said Gordon.
Some Wall Street analysts bearish on Peloton
While some analysts are bullish on Peloton, some financial experts are bearish on the pure play business. Gina Sanchez, CEO of Chantico Global, thinks that the company is facing stiff competition from other fitness equipment companies.
“It’s not just facing competition from SoulCycle. It’s is also facing competition from other bike makers like NordicTrack, Echelon, ProForm who are all forming their own studio offerings to help give a Peloton-like experience. They are a pioneer in this space but they’re also opening up the space for a lot of competitors,” said Sanchez.
Peloton is a fitness pure play stock that investors can choose to add to their portfolios.
10. Stitch Fix
Like Peloton, Stitch Fix (NYSE:SFIX) has a successful subscription-based service. The pure play e-commerce business has been booming since April as people are cleaning out their closets and updating their wardrobes.
“We send you clothing and accessories we think you’ll like; you keep the items you want and send the others back. We leverage data science to deliver personalization at scale, transcending traditional brick-and-mortar and e-commerce retail experiences,” said Lake.
Stitch Fix a successful pure play e-commerce stock
Because of its combination of personalized customer service and data analytics, Stitch Fix’s Q1 2020 earnings report showed growth in clients. Lake commented on the results.
“We had another quarter of great momentum in Q1, delivering net revenue of $445 million, exceeding guidance and representing 21% year-over-year growth. We grew our active clients to 3.4 million, an increase of 17% year over year. Demonstrating the power of our data science, we continued to delight our clients, growing revenue per active client by 10% year over year, our sixth consecutive quarter of growth,” said Lake.
Analysts mixed on Stitch Fix stock
While Stitch Fix had a positive earnings report, the company had a sales decline in March. Because of the nationwide shutdown, some warehouses closed and many order couldn’t be filled as quickly. Because of the setback, many analysts like RBC Capital’s Mark Mahaney wrote a note to his clients about concerns about the pure play business.
“Given the COVID disruption, we expect weaker new/infrequent client conversions and the UK rollout to continue be challenged”, wrote Mahaney.
SunTrust Robinson analyst Youssef Squali is more bullish on the Stitch Fix stock. He believes that the company has an advantage with strong growth potential in ecommerce.
“We[SunTrust Robinson] remain bullish on the stock however, given SFIX’s strong competitive position in the structurally challenged Retail, robust unit economics, strong growth/margin potential in FY21 and beyond, and compelling valuation,” noted Squali.
Pure play businesses can have pivotal stocks for investors
Pure play businesses can have stocks that can pay off for investors. While pure play stocks carry risk, the stocks mentioned above persevered because of their uniqueness and innovation. With TradingSim charts and analysis, investors can find the best pure play businesses to add to their portfolios.
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