The Biggest Risks of Investing in Amazon Stock

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Amazon has grown to go 1 of nan largest companies successful nan world, some successful position of income and marketplace capitalization. But, pinch specified awesome size, comes a group of unsocial risks. The biggest risks of investing successful, Inc. (AMZN) banal are expanding competition, profit imaginable uncertainty, gross maturation uncertainty, speculative valuation and share value volatility. Amazon has so delivered precocious gross maturation since going public successful 1997, making investors optimistic astir early performance. This maturation has besides caused investors to place nan company’s unwillingness to make sustained net profits.

If these bullish expectations are not met, Amazon’s stock will apt depreciate because nan marketplace has already assumed early capacity will beryllium strong. This speculation further compounds consequence by making Amazon’s banal value highly volatile, disproportionately exposing investors to marketplace fluctuations.

Key Takeaways

  • Amazon has grown to beryllium 1 of nan astir successful companies successful nan world, grabbing marketplace stock not only successful unit but unreality computing, media, and entertainment.
  • Despite its successes, nan institution remains unfastened to competitors arsenic good arsenic razor-thin profit margins.
  • The company's banal has a beta of astir 1.3 and trailing P/E ratio of 138x, making it still a highly speculative finance fueled by anticipation of moreover greater maturation ahead.


Competition is nan astir salient operational risk faced by Amazon. The wide merchandise unit manufacture is highly competitory and includes formidable competitors specified arsenic Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Costco Wholesale Corporation and Target Corporation. Specialty retailers specified arsenic Staples, Inc., Best Buy Co., Inc., Home Depot, Inc. and Bed Bath & Beyond, Inc. person gained traction arsenic beingness showrooms and class specialists. All of these awesome retailers person invested heavy successful online income channels successful consequence to evolving user tastes. The build-out of well-regarded unit e-commerce sites threatens to situation Amazon’s supremacy successful nan market. These developments stay specified threats, however, arsenic Amazon still holds an estimated 36.7% of nan highly fragmented online unit marketplace arsenic of 2023.

Amazon’s accelerated ascent has prompted different retailers to forge strategies specifically crafted to combat nan online giant’s influence. Staples and Best Buy occasionally connection promotions and value matching explicitly matching aliases beating Amazon’s prices and promotions. Competitive pricing not only erodes Amazon’s advantage successful nan market, but it besides leads to narrower margins crossed nan committee for marketplace participants. FedEx's ShopRunner offers an replacement to Amazon Prime, and galore retailers person collaborated pinch nan shipping service. Services of this type origin Amazon’s economic moat to narrow, threatening pricing power and volumes.

In 2006, nan institution launched its lucrative Amazon Web Services, a cloud computing platform, which generated 16% of full revenues successful 2019. The company’s information successful this marketplace represents a awesome strategical diversification and a imaginable early maturation category. Cloud infrastructure arsenic a work is simply a highly commoditized marketplace successful which astir competitory differentiation is achieved done fierce pricing, and galore of nan largest exertion firms person established themselves successful nan space. Amazon’s largest competitors successful unreality retention see Microsoft's Azure and Google Cloud. These competitors each carve retired a different niche wrong nan wider market, and immoderate moreover connection infrastructure arsenic a work arsenic a value-added work aliases nonaccomplishment leader.

Profit Uncertainty

Amazon operates pinch very constrictive profit margins and was not capable to sustained nett profits during nan early to mid 2010s, wherever it posted net losses successful FY 2012 and FY 2014. Prior to 2021, nan highest full-year net separator reported by nan institution was 3.7%, which was achieved backmost successful 2009. Competitive pricing ensures Amazon’s gross margins enactment wrong a only mini scope of humble values. Amazon’s guidance is committed to infrastructure description and increasing investments successful research and development, necessitating precocious operating expenses. For 2021, Amazon's profit separator roseate to a grounds high, of conscionable complete 7%.

Investors person been comfortable eschewing profits to substance early growth, but bearish observers are skeptical nan institution has nan pricing powerfulness to make nan returns basal to warrant nan ongoing investments successful description . For immoderate investors, these concerns are validated by Amazon’s past investments successful grounded projects specified arsenic an abandoned foray into nan smartphone market. For Amazon to beryllium an charismatic finance opportunity, nan institution must return to profitability and turn quickly successful nan midst of an progressively competitory market. This is simply a important consequence to nan bull thesis.

Slowing Revenue Growth

Amazon has delivered beardown maturation capacity complete nan past decade, pinch annualized gross maturation metrics seldom falling beneath 20% and sometimes approaching 40%. This accomplishment has stoked bullish investor sentiment and fierce analyst estimates. Nonetheless, maturation has decelerated connected mean complete nan 2010s, pinch Amazon's gross for nan 12 months ending December 31, 2023 posting a 13.91% summation year-over-year. Several factors person contributed to this trend. Rapid maturation is typically difficult to prolong arsenic nan guidelines level rises each year, meaning a larger nominal description is required to thrust a changeless maturation rate.

Intensifying value title successful some unit and Web services besides has an effect connected income growth rates. Despite a important displacement to online income channels, e-commerce still makes conscionable astir 15.6% of nan full unit market, arsenic of Q1 2024. This whitethorn bespeak a earthy ceiling to nan magnitude of business that tin beryllium done without brick and mortar locations, and this impairs Amazon’s imaginable upside. The full bull communicative for Amazon is based connected nan presumption nan institution will proceed delivering accelerated growth. If gross maturation slows excessively much, past nan investments that person driven precocious operating expense levels will beryllium fruitless. If gross and net do not grounds sustained precocious rates of description successful nan future, Amazon’s valuation will beryllium to beryllium unjustified. Slowing gross maturation is simply a consequence that investors should monitor.

Highly Speculative Valuation

The valuation of Amazon shares poses an finance risk. At astir $180 a stock arsenic of May 2024, Amazon is simply a highly speculative finance pinch a marketplace headdress of $1.88 trillion and a trailing P/E ratio of 50.85x earnings.

If a personification were to presume Amazon will meet nan highest expert estimates 2 years from now and past turn 28% each twelvemonth complete a five-year period, nan market price still implies astir 10% yearly maturation complete nan long-term. This is not an intolerable outcome, but investors are assuming very favorable capacity complete a long, difficult-to-forecast interval. There are apt and plausible outcomes that impact little stellar results. Speculation is communal for unprofitable growth companies pinch an uncertain medium term, but this truth does not trim nan consequence of unmet expectations.

High stock value volatility is simply a consequence of this speculation. Amazon’s beta of 1.15 indicates stock prices are positively correlated to nan wider equity market and move up and down astatine a higher magnitude than nan market. Amazon shareholders are truthful taxable to accrued market risk, arsenic a wide downturn disproportionately impacts precocious beta stocks specified arsenic Amazon.

Source investopedia