The S&P 500 has taken a beating in 2020 in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has stalled businesses and economies around the world. But a few companies have seen a surge in demand for their products and services while people stay indoors to contain the COVID-19 spread.
Chewy (NYSE:CHWY) and Glu Mobile (NASDAQ:GLUU) are two such companies resisting the economic downturn brought about by the novel coronavirus. While Chewy plies its trade in a lucrative niche that has a proven record of beating past recessions, Glu gives its users a way to keep themselves entertained as they stay at home. Not surprisingly, shares of both companies have beaten the broader market by huge margins so far in 2020. And they are probably not done yet.
1. Chewy’s business gets a nice shot in the arm
Shelter-in-place orders have turned out to be a tailwind for Chewy as pet parents have shifted to ordering food and other supplies online. This helped the online pet store clock a 35% annual jump in revenue last quarter to $1.35 billion. What’s more, Chewy’s fiscal first-quarter guidance makes it clear that COVID-19 won’t be hampering its growth
The company anticipates a 35% to 37% increase in sales this quarter to a range of $1.50 billion to $1.52 billion as demand accelerates during the novel coronavirus outbreak. Chewy CFO Mario Marte pointed this out on the latest earnings conference call:
[T]he disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak has altered consumer shopping behavior in recent weeks. We have seen this at Chewy as concerned pet parents stocked up on necessities like food and other essentials, and as customers shift to their shopping from off-line to online channels in support of social distancing efforts.
Beginning in late February, we saw an acceleration in sales, which has continued through today, and our first-quarter guidance reflects these trends.
Chewy customers have ramped up their spending, as evident from a 10% increase in net sales per active customer last year. The company ended fiscal 2019 with 13.5 million active customers, with each active customer spending an average of $360 on Chewy’s platform.
Meanwhile, the subscription business drove 70% of the company’s fourth-quarter sales. Chewy’s subscription revenue was up 40.8% over the prior-year period in the fourth quarter, exceeding the growth in the company’s overall revenue. This indicates that Chewy’s novel coronavirus-fueled momentum could last even after the pandemic subsides, since the company is locking in customers for the long run through subscriptions.
Additionally, investors shouldn’t forget that Chewy is operating in a multibillion-dollar market where revenue is anticipated to hit $100 billion in 2020, and sales are gradually moving toward the online channel. COVID-19 seems to have given this transition a shot in the arm, paving the way for Chewy to record solid growth this year and beyond.
2. Glu Mobile is on a roll as gaming picks up
Mobile gaming usage has increased as users look for ways to keep themselves engaged while staying at home. Mobile ad company AdColony estimates that mobile gaming demand surged 24% in the final two weeks of March.
Glu Mobile is making the most of this trend. The company clocked annual revenue growth of 12% last quarter to $107.3 million, while its bookings grew at an even greater pace of 15%. Glu Mobile’s impressive bookings growth indicates that users are continuing to spend money on the company’s titles, and this encouraged it to boost its full-year guidance.
As it turns out, Glu saw a 15% annual jump in average bookings per daily active user during the fiscal first quarter, while average bookings per monthly user increased shot up an impressive 24%. The daily active users of Glu’s five key titles, which accounted for nearly 84% of its total bookings last quarter, increased to 2.1 million, compared to 1.8 million in the prior-year period.
The new games launched by Glu Mobile in recent months have helped it attract more users and encouraged its users to boost their in-game purchases. More importantly, the mobile gaming specialist has remained conservative while bumping its full-year guidance, as CFO and COO Eric Ludwig said on the latest earnings conference call:
Our second half of 2020 bookings guidance assumes no uplift from the shelter-in-place mandates and low CPI environment. We could see potential upside to our third and fourth quarter guidance if there is a Major League Baseball season, if CPIs (cost per install) remain favorable or if organic downloads continue at elevated levels. We’ve taken a cautious view in setting second half of 2020 guidance due to the uncertainty around consumer behavior.
So there is a chance of Glu Mobile surpassing its own expectations if the conditions turn favorable for the company in the coming months. But even if there is no uplift — as Glu management points out — the company stands to clock decent growth in 2020 and deliver more upside to investors, making it a top growth stock to consider amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.