Shopify (SHOP) is arguably one of the best high growth opportunities available. Its recent results once more confounded bears by again delivering beats on both top and bottom lines. It's challenging to say exactly when Shopify will actually slow down.
However, for now, only one thing can be said with certainty: investors wishing to participate in this rapidly growing company are having to pay a rich price tag.
Unexpected Twist In Q2 2019 Results
The overarching theme coming out of Shopify was a continuation of what investors and analysts have been used to hearing -- how Shopify is determined to put merchants first.
Shopify's sole drive to ensure that it provides merchants with a level playing field by offering a platform with the most intuitive tools continues to pay off. Shopify declares that it's the first major platform to natively support 3D, and early results demonstrate buyers interacting with 3D are twice as likely to complete a purchase.
The above growth shows an unexpected re-acceleration of its Merchant Solutions segment. This segment accounts for approximately 58% of total revenue, but perhaps most significantly, is that this segment boasted having gross margins of just over 61%.
In fact, the reason why Shopify beat non-GAAP EPS estimates by a remarkable $0.12 in Q2 2019 is arguably due to the re-ignition of the Merchant Solutions segment's revenue growth rate, together with tight cost controls.
Growth Too Strong To Be Ignored
Taking into account Shopify's recently raised full-year guidance, and we can see evidence of a company which shows no signs of slowing down. Moreover, the e-commerce sector overall continues to expand. If Shopify's determination to take market share from an expanding market even minimally plays out, shareholders are likely to look back to today's valuation and consider it a bargain.
Valuation - Investors Are Asked To Pay Up For Quality
The above table is a reminder that Shopify's valuation is not trading in the bargain basement. Admittedly, investors are largely pricing in the near-term future with great hope and excitement, which is to be expected. High growth, high-quality companies often see their great execution largely reflected in their current share prices.
Having said that, many remarkable high growth companies were expensive five years ago, and despite many investors doubting their vision, today are a multitude more expensive.
Looking at the competition, one of Shopify's close rivals is Magento, a subsidiary of Adobe (ADBE) . While Shopify's software revolves around an intuitive, user-friendly interface, meaning that small merchants can adopt its platform and scale in size with ease, Magento can sometimes be cost-prohibitive. Magento's highly complex Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering, despite offering more customization, requires several experienced coders to make it fully operational.
Thus far, Shopify has also succeeded in keeping competitors such as Square (SQ) at bay. Merchants have preferred to deepen their connection with Shopify, keeping Shopify's overall churn rates low.
However, shareholders should note that a large portion of Shopify's customers are small-to-medium-sized businesses that are more price-sensitive than larger companies. In the future, if Shopify's customer base were to push back against price hikes, increasing its customer churn rates, investors should take note and ease back from this investment.
The Bottom Line
Shopify's main competitive advantage is that customers fundamentally benefit from coming onto its platform. Shopify has effectively positioned itself to be the go-between buyers and sellers. By making it simpler, faster and more efficient for all parties involved, Shopify's high growth is unlikely to slow down anytime soon.