Shopify's stock has exploded 140% in the last two months making it briefly the biggest company in Canada. Here is why analysts think it won't get any bigger.

Shopify's stock has exploded 140% in the last two months making it briefly the biggest company in Canada. Here is why analysts think it won't get any bigger.
The logo of Shopify is seen outside its headquarters in OttawaReuters
  • Shopify's stock has soared 140% in the last two months as many shoppers flock to e-commerce with lockdowns in place.
  • The stock has risen 4,600% since the stock went public five years ago.
  • Shopify reported earnings of $470 million in 1Q, 47% higher year-on-year.
  • Analysts think Shopify is overpriced and shoppers may flock back to the likes of Amazon.

Shopify overtook Royal Bank of Canada to become the country's largest company by market cap earlier this month as the stock surged 140% in the last two months alone, and it emerges as one of the biggest winners during the pandemic.

It currently boasts a market cap of 92.3 billion Canadian dollars ($66.4) and has now slipped back to become Canada's second-largest company by market cap.

Coronavirus has torpedoed economic activity and led most conventional stores to shut down, leaving shoppers to resort to online retailers.


In March, Amazon halted the delivery of some non-essential shipments, a factor which greatly helped the Canadian start-up boost sales.

But the future of stock is far less rosy analysts say.

Stock is overpriced


A number of analysts told Markets Insider Shopify's stock price is not sustainable even if COVID-19 drags on for many more months.

Craig Kirsner, president of Stuart Estate Planning Wealth Advisors, said: "I 100% believe that companies like Shopify and Zoom are overpriced. They are based on the needs of the world right now and that need will go down once we are past coronavirus."

He added: "I do believe these companies will be more important going forward. However, they are probably overvalued currently, as most bubble-type investments are."


Robert R. Johnson, professor of finance at Heider College of Business, Creighton University, said: "The valuation of Shopify (SHOP) is, simply put, ludicrous. It is selling at 49 times sales. Not 49 times earnings, but 49 times sales. On a forward PE basis, it is selling at 5000 times consensus next 12 months earnings."

Shopify posted earnings of $470 million a 47% increase year on year in its 1Q earnings this month.

Johnson cited advice by iconic fund manager Peter Lynch, who led the behemoth Fidelity Magellan fund, stressing that good investments are not only ones that are great products and services but also those companies that have a sustainable business model.


"In essence, there is no economic moat with Shopify. My advice is for investors to use the products offered by Shopify, just refrain from buying shares of its stock," Johnson said.

Shopify's stock has exploded 140% in the last two months making it briefly the biggest company in Canada. Here is why analysts think it won't get any bigger.
Markets Insider

Facebook joined the e-commerce craze on Tuesday through its announcement it is adding shops to its social network and Instagram, its biggest move into e-commerce yet.


Facebook's partnership with Shopify is a new free tool that helps merchants create a customized online storefront for Facebook and Instagram.

How economies will fare after reopening

Kunal Chopra, chief executive of eTailz, pointed out that the start-up could lose steam if more retailers begin declaring bankruptcies.

"A big driver is whether economy consumer spending may change when economies open up."


"There may be multiple bankruptcies, especially in the non-essential categories where that is going to [hurt Shopify].

But Ygal Arounian, equity research analyst covering SHOP for Wedbush Securities, thinks potential bankruptcies would help Shopify.

"Our view is that we are not going back to the pre-COVID normal. You are already seeing significant changes in the retail landscape. You are seeing bankruptcies for major retailers' department stores."


Arounian added: "It's a positive for e-commerce and Shopify. It's going to be a new normal and it's going to include a lot more online and omnichannel commerce. Shopify will help facilitate that for many SMEs."

But, Chopra said Amazon's long-established infrastructure means Shopify won't snatch a lot of market share in the long-term.

Chopra said: "One advantage Amazon has it has one of the best operational infrastructures in the world. It has fulfillment by Amazon. You don't get two-day Prime, one-day Prime, on Shopify unless you as a merchant can support that."


"The other perspective is that that is where consumers are. One of the issues is that Shopify has to direct traffic to its site brand, it has to build that brand presence."

Though he pointed out, Shopify allows the merchant to own the customer relationship where Amazon doesn't.

He added: "E-commerce here is to stay and they are both going to compete for market share, you will see a good balance between D2C and market places in the future," but for now, our "short-term indication is a hold, long-term indication it is a buy."

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