NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Amazon's (AMZN) stock has had a rough go of it since the company said fourth-quarter results would be weaker than expected. Recent events suggest, however, that the company not only will come in ahead of its own estimates but is taking market share from eBay (EBAY) , other online sites and perhaps all of retail.
Pacific Crest Securities analyst Chad Bartley, who rates Amazon outperform with a 12-month price target of $435, believes that Amazon is well positioned to benefit from the surge in online shopping in a number of ways, from traditional buying of clothes and goods, to items like video games.
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"We believe Amazon is in a strong position to benefit from the healthy e-commerce spending this holiday and to gain share relative to its online and offline peers. 81% of respondents plan to shop on Amazon.com this holiday compared to 30% for eBay," Bartley wrote in the note. "Also, 33% plan to do most or all of their holiday online shopping at Amazon.com, compared to 4% for eBay."
In October, Amazon said it expects fourth-quarter sales to be between $27.3 billion and $30.3 billion, below the average analyst estimate of $29.75 billion, according to Thomson Reuters. Amazon also expects to post a wide range of operating results next quarter, between a loss of $570 million and a gain of $430 million, including $470 million in stock-based compensation.
Online shopping is expected to be robust this year, with comScore predicting consumers will spend more than $61 billion, up 16% year over year. As Amazon continues to build out its mobile strategy, launching new apps and devices, such as the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, the company may benefit even further.
ComScore expects mobile shopping to grow 25% over last year's levels, accounting for 13% of total online holiday spending this year, its highest percentage ever. During the calendar fourth quarter, mobile spending is expected to surpass $10 billion for the first time ever.
In a survey, Bartley found 81% of respondents said they would shop on Amazon, as opposed to just 30% for eBay. Perhaps more surprisingly, 33% of respondents said they would do all their online shopping at Amazon, compared with just 4% for eBay, with Amazon Prime being a major factor. Amazon Prime is Amazon's $99 a year service that provides two-day shipping along with movie, TV show and music streaming service akin to Netflix (NFLX) and Pandora (P) .
Bartley suggested that Amazon's Prime members are "surging" in the fourth quarter, as the company continues to build the moat around the membership. The analyst found that 43% of those surveyed were Prime members, up from 35% in the third quarter, and 26% in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Amazon recently announced it was getting into the private label business with Amazon Elements, a new line of premium, everyday items available only to Amazon Prime members as the company seeks to capture even more of consumers' dollars.
Bartley also said that while Target (TGT) and Wal-Mart (WMT) have been aggressive this season with pricing and shipping promotions, this won't affect Amazon. "For example, 87% indicated Target's free-shipping promotion has not affected their holiday shopping, while 85% indicated the same for Walmart's price-matching policy," Bartley penned in the note. "This, combined with our holiday product availability and pricing data, suggests Amazon is competing effectively."
Even though Amazon's prowess this holiday season seems to be taking market share away from online shopping, the company is working hard to capture mindshare and market share from all retailers.
With Sony's (SNE) PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's (MSFT) XBox One released in 2013, new games have been some of the bigger sellers this holiday season, even with Bartley's survey finding that 91.5% of respondents are not going to buy a console. 29% of those in the survey said they would rather buy a game from Amazon, as opposed to 20% for GameStop (GME) and 16% for both Wal-Mart and Target.
-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York
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