While smartphone maker Apple Inc. (AAPL) was the first U.S. company to reach the $1 trillion market cap threshold earlier this month, one team of analysts on the Street expects FAANG peer Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) to blow past that value in just a few years. As the Seattle-based e-commerce behemoth beats out Walmart Inc. (WMT), the world's largest retailer, it could garner a whopping $2.5 billion valuation by 2024, according to MKM Partners. (See also: Amazon Will Be Next to Hit $1T: VC Vet Ann Winblad.)
In a note Wednesday, MKM's Rob Sanderson increased his 12-month price target on Amazon stock to $2,215 from $1,840, reflecting an 16.3% upside from Wednesday's close, as reported by CNBC. Trading up 1.1% at $1,904.90, AMZN shares have returned 62.9% year-to-date (YTD) and have doubled over the past 12 months, outperforming the S&P 500's 7% increase and 17.1% gain over the same respective periods.
Sanderson attributed his optimistic outlook to the strength of Amazon's public cloud business, Amazon Web Services (AWS), which should benefit from improved margins in the coming years. He expects AWS become more valuable than the entirety of Amazon, which currently stands at $918.2 billion.
E-Commerce Giant 'Best Long-Term Growth Investment' Today
In the second quarter, Amazon's cloud segment grew nearly 49% to reach $6.11 billion in revenue, exceeding the consensus estimate and maintaining its lead against players such as Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL). While Sanderson expects AWS growth to decelerate to 37% in 2019 from 46% this year, below growth forecasts from Microsoft and Google, he expects a 35% operating margin in 2024, up from 26.9% in Q2 and a high of 28.5% at the end of 2015. By 2024, Sanderson estimates AWS to comprise nearly one third of Amazon's $88 billion in profit.
"We still think that AMZN is the best long-term growth investment available to investors today," wrote MKM. The bull highlighted upside drivers including improved profitability in the e-commerce giant's fulfillment operations following aggressive expansions over the past two years, and a heightened focus on fresh food delivery, as reported by CNBC.
By 2025, MKM foresees founder Jeff Bezos' "everything store" controlling 14.5% of the U.S. retail market, surpassing traditional brick-and-mortar rival Walmart Inc. (WMT), which has doubled down on delivery and its own online business to hedge against Amazon fears. (See also: Amazon Owns $1 Billion Worth of Other Companies.)