Investors normally don’t consider coffee a sexy investment – and they usually don’t envision it in their tech portfolios.
But that’s a mistake. I’m going to show you a coffee company that’s leveraging some of the hottest, most lucrative segments in tech – mobile apps and commerce – that will crush not only the competition, but other retailers as well.
In fact, more than 9 million people use this app every week to purchase this company’s food and beverages, right from their mobile devices.
That comes to 20% of sales for a firm that last year had revenue of $16.4 billion.
That’s why this neighborhood java slinger is a world leader in mobile commerce – and why it’s killing the S&P 500 by 7,900%.
It’s going to continue to do that on its way to doubling and beyond.
Starbucks Has Been a “Stealth” Tech Star for Decades Now
The executives at Starbucks Corp. (Nasdaq: SBUX) have used high tech as a sales tool for years.
That’s because the company consciously views the technology it employs as a strong competitive advantage that boosts sales and improves margins.
For example, back in 2001, at a time when many consumers were still using 56K dial-up connections to surf the web, the Seattle-based global chain introduced Wi-Fi throughout its stores.
It’s as if the firm’s leaders looked ahead to a time when mobile-enabled professionals would choose Starbucks as a prime place to meet with clients, return calls, or just catch up on emails and paperwork over an iced coffee or flavored latte.
This “build it and they will come” attitude has paid off big-time for Starbucks, with more than 60 million people visiting one or more locations every week. That’s 3 trillion visits per year.
But the firm’s growing embrace of mobile technology dwarfs even anything from its impressive “early adopter” past. Starbucks is now among the biggest players in one of the fastest-growing tech markets around – mobile commerce.
Digi-Capital forecasts that total mobile services will grow nearly threefold between 2014 and 2018, from $300 billion to $850 billion. And mobile commerce will account for 70% of that revenue, or about $595 billion.
Now here’s why you can expect a healthy chunk of those billions to go straight into Starbucks’ coffers.
Starbucks Follows the “Rules”
To put the company’s mobile platform and its other growth ventures into context, I’m going to run Starbucks through the five filters of my tech-investing strategy for building wealth – Your Tech Wealth Blueprint.
As you’re about to see, by adhering to my five rules, Starbucks is set to double in value – and fast.
Rule No. 1: Great Companies Have Great Operations
You’ll find your best returns with well-run firms guided by top-notch leaders, and CEO Howard Schultz fits the bill in spades.
The son of a World War II veteran who never finished high school, Schultz grew up in federally subsidized housing before going on to transform Starbucks from a single shop to one with 20,000 outlets in 65 countries.
More than a mere CEO, Schultz is a business visionary and a motivational leader who has inspired countless other entrepreneurs.
Both of his books – 1997’s “Pour Your Heart Into It” and 2011’s “Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul” – were best sellers.
And he has won a string of leadership awards. In 2011, Fortune named him Businessperson of the Year for delivering record financial returns and spurring job growth.
He has also received the Distinguished Leadership Award from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and was named to the 2004 Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world.
Rule No. 2: Separate the Signals from the “Noise”
To create real wealth, you have to ignore not just hype you hear from companies, but also the noise you hear on Wall Street. And when it comes to Starbucks, there’s every reason to tune out the Street.
Indeed, many investment “pros” (who really should know better) still view Starbucks as little more than a seller of gourmet coffee, premium drinks and snack items – which massively misses the point.
What these blinkered analysts fail to see is something you and I have known for years: These days, every business is a technology business.
Starbucks certainly is…
The firm is using its mobile app to drive new sales in a way that few other retailers in the nation can match, including what’s probably the most effective “loyalty” program in all of retail.
Starbucks has also struck alliances with the ride-sharing service Lyft and with the online streaming company Spotify, two of the hottest startups on the planet.
Rule No. 3: Ride the Unstoppable Trends
Always look for stocks in red-hot sectors. As they ride those trends higher, they offer you your best chance to reap market-beating gains.
There’s no question that Starbucks has this base covered with its focus on mobile technology, particularly its commerce app.
When you tally up the company’s total mobile orders, you find that Starbucks conducts some 47 million transactions per week. That’s more than 2.4 billion transactions per year, just from mobile.
So Starbucks is fully justified when it claims to have the “most powerful mobile ecosystem of any retailer in the world.”
Rule No. 4: Focus on Growth
Companies that have the strongest growth rates almost always offer the highest stock returns.
This is another area where Starbucks shines.
Besides a focus on mobile tech and digital payments, the firm is also implementing a “disciplined” expansion into other markets and is looking to add new products at existing stores to drive higher profit margins.
Starbucks’ goal is to expand its store base while taking care to maintain its standards. As a centerpiece of this global growth strategy, Starbucks intends to target China’s $6 billion market for coffee and energy drinks.
What’s more – and this is key – the company is doing a good job of communicating its plans to investors. Starbuck has posted its “seven strategies for growth” on its website.
Rule No. 5 : Target Stocks That Can Double Your Money
This is where we look at Starbucks’ earnings growth and see how long it will take to double profits. We can then use that number to determine how long it should take for the stock to double in value.
I’ve gone through the firm’s financials in detail and I’m projecting earnings per share (EPS) will grow on average 18% over the next five years. And that’s being conservative – Starbucks’ earnings have grown an average of 21% over the last three years.
Now we use what I call my Doubling Calculator. Divide the compound growth rate of 18 into the number 72.
We find that it should take roughly four years for Starbucks to give us 100% gains.
Starbucks is trading at $61.51, giving it a $91.55 billion market cap. It has a 49% return on equity and last year brought in $2 billion in free cash flow.
Over the past year, it has gained 56%, compared to the S&P 500 Index’s increase of just 0.7%. That means Starbucks had beaten the broad market by 7,900%.
As you can see, driven by new technology, Starbucks offers investors outsize gains. So, it literally pays to look at this company in a new light.
And with such an aggressive use of its mobile app and digital payments, Starbucks is only going to become an even more important “tech” stock over the next few years.
Stay caffeinated so you can keep up.
— Michael A. Robinson[ad#mmpress]
Source: Money Morning