Stocks to buy

E-commerce stocks are hot right now.

As the internet has grown and matured, e-commerce companies have reached the point that many have made traditional retailers obsolete.

While traditional retailers suffered financial hardship during the pandemic as their stores operated at reduced capacity, e-commerce companies thrived.

Today, the global e-commerce market is estimated at more than $4 trillion, according to research firm Statista.

By 2027, the e-commerce sector is forecast to surpass $6 trillion in annual revenues. Given the industry’s continued growth, e-commerce stocks can make for good investments.

Here are three e-commerce stocks with huge return potential for long-term investors.

MELI MercadoLibre $1,235.63
AMZN Amazon $104.98
EBAY eBay $43.36

MercadoLibre (MELI)

Source: rafapress / Shutterstock.com

Investors looking for a stock that has a track record of out-performance should definitely checkout MercadoLibre (NASDAQ:MELI), the e-commerce and online auction company that is based in Argentina.

MELI stock is up 50% this year and has gained 265% over the last five years. That kind of growth is impressive and leaves most other e-commerce companies in the dust.

This huge multi-year rally has given MercadoLibre a sky high valuation, with its stock currently trading at a price-earnings (P/E) ratio of 130, which is expensive.

Investors who prize growth might pay up for MELI stock. The company continues to expand at breakneck speed and its profits are accelerating. In 2022, MercadoLibre’s revenue grew 49% from a year earlier to $10.5 billion.

Its full-year profit swelled nearly 500% to $482 million from only $83 million in 2021. MercadoLibre’s online payments unit, Mercado Pago, is growing fastest for the company, with payment volumes rising 60% last year. That kind of growth may justify a premium price for this stock.

Amazon (AMZN)

Source: Ioan Panaite / Shutterstock.com

A lot of Wall Street analysts continue to pound the table on U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).

Mizuho (NYSE:MFG) just became the latest in a string of banks to slap a “buy” rating on AMZN stock, along with a price target of $135, suggesting a 33% gain from current levels.

While most analysts acknowledge that the online retailer faces some near-term headwinds as it restructures its business coming out of the pandemic, they continue to forecast long-term gains for shareholders.

Moving through this year, Amazon should benefit from the employee layoffs, warehouse closures, and other cost reduction measures it has undertaken.

The company should also get a tailwind from its on-demand cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services, which continues to be the fastest growing segment of its business.

While AMZN stock remains nearly 30% lower than where it was trading at a year ago, the share price has recovered 21% so far in 2023, with more gains likely in coming months.

eBay (EBAY)

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Another option for investors in the e-commerce space is eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY).

The company that facilitates consumer and business sales through its website has seen its stock recover over the past six months and is down about half (17%) of the decline seen in rival Amazon’s stock over the past 12 months.

Since bottoming last September, EBAY stock has risen 26%. Unlike most technology and e-commerce companies, eBay pays its shareholders a generous dividend that currently yields 2.27% or 25 cents a share per quarter.

Other reasons to be bullish on eBay is that the company is specializing in live shopping events through its “eBay Live” platform, recently hosting a sports trading card event. The company is also focusing on exclusive products such as a new line of sneakers designed for women. And, eBay is increasingly promoting refurbished items that are for sale on its website as a means of helping the environment. These differentiators are helping to separate eBay from its competitors and could help drive future sales, say analysts.

On the date of publication, Joel Baglole did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Joel Baglole has been a business journalist for 20 years. He spent five years as a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal, and has also written for The Washington Post and Toronto Star newspapers, as well as financial websites such as The Motley Fool and Investopedia.

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