Can Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) pump the gas to bring in Whole Foods grocery lanes filled with twice as many hungry consumers? Will the Whole Foods acquisition bring about rapid-fire Prime subscription growth?
Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak is banking on this, forecasting total shoppers could spring from last year’s 12.5 million up to a whopping 25.2 million in the next three years. Though Nowak anticipates “price cuts, Prime Now and other investment will pressure profitability,” the analyst likewise sees the bullish reward: “we also see Whole Foods Market driving faster Prime sub growth.”
As such, analyst maintains an Overweight rating on AMZN stock with a $1,150 price target, which implies a close to 16% increase from where the stock is currently trading. (To watch Nowak’s track record, click here)
On a less positive note, Nowak warns that new shoppers will not necessarily spend as much at the store, which could impact the online auction and e-commerce giant’s net earnings. “Growth will come from new shopper growth, which we see inflecting from more competitive pricing and increased convenience,” explains the analyst.
Consider that roughly 38% of Whole Foods customers have yet to subscribe to Amazon Prime- there is a real opportunity here between discounting and fast delivery options for the company to win over new consumers to the tune of millions. Meanwhile, with Amazon outclassing the market in 2017, with shares up 33% juxtaposed against the S&P 500’s gains of 12%, it is surely an encouraging time to be an Amazon shareholder.
“We expect Amazon to convert half of these shoppers between now and the end of 2019,” contends Nowak, underscoring: “We see AMZN’s Prime member growth and engagement, Echo device sales, and consumer web traffic/interest driving solid top line trends and GMV [gross merchandise volume] per customer growth.”
Most of Wall Street backs Nowak’s bullish bet, as TipRanks analytics showcase AMZN as a Strong Buy. Out of 32 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 30 are bullish on Amazon stock while 2 remain sidelined. With a return potential of nearly 19%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $1,176.46.