AMAZON VS. WALMART
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AMAZON VS. WALMART
REAL VISION CASE COMPETITION
Team: Fletcheros By: Nathan Cohen-Fournier, Adolfo Gatti, Angelica Nouhi Representing the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Abstract Contextual Analysis Amazon Analysis Walmart Analysis Valuations Exhibits End Notes
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ABSTRACT Choosing to invest between Amazon and Walmart seems, at first glance, a straight-
forward decision. Who wouldn't invest in the new, exciting player on the block? One is a promising company built on growth and the vision of a brilliant entrepreneur; the other has become the largest by revenues and number of employees. One incarnates financial health, proven track record, and stability; the other, astronomical stock returns accompanied by high volatility and uncertainty.
We chose the financial strength and consistency of Walmart. We found Walmart's stock to be fairly valued. Although financial returns are not expected to be massive, we believe a steady dividend from a healthy company is the best choice in a turbulent global economy. Amazon surely has much to offer in promising e-commerce and cloud computing markets. Nevertheless, many competitors are eyeing these markets, capital requirements are increasing with sales, and numerous socio-economic risks remain. In fact, we found the stock price of Amazon to be overvalued by roughly 30%.
An investment for the next ten years, Amazon versus Walmart: which to choose? We picked the stability of Walmart over the uncertainty of Amazon. Throughout this paper, we will expose the rationale for our investment thesis.
During the summer of 2015 Amazon leapfrogged Walmart in terms of market value. This is the story of two giants facing each other on various battlefields; the biggest being the US retail industry. The retail industry follows macro-economic trends and has been subject to several changes due to the advent of technology. A key contributor of transformation in the industry has been e-commerce. In the US, e-commerce accounted for 20% of the growth in the industry, which totaled $304.9 billion in 20141 (Exhibit 1). A necessary condition for e-commerce is internet access: according to the World Bank, 40.7% of world's population in 2014 had internet access.2
In the US, e-commerce represented 6.4% of the total retail industry during 2014, and is projected to increase to 8.9% by year-end 2018 (Exhibit 2).3 Amazon is the leader holding 16% of the market share,4 whereas Walmart has just recently entered the fray. Additionally, mobile commerce is gaining a stronger imprint, and is estimated to reach $132.69 billion by 2018 or 27% of total e-commerce sales (Exhibit 3).5
Since its IPO in 1997, Amazon's market capitalization has increased by 53,040%, growing from $441 million in Q2-2007 to $235 billion in Q3-2015.6 While the company has
seduced the masses and become a Wall-Street darling, it only recently started to generate much anticipated profits.
Amazon is considered by many a technology
stock. Indeed, few companies have spent as much in
CAPEX and R&D as Amazon, which has invested 12% of its total sales since 2000.7 Since 2010, the firm expanded its square footage at a CAGR of 39%
while providing facilities with state-of-the-art machinery, including recently acquired Kiva robots.8
Amazon's capacity to branch out from its core
businesses is exemplified by Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company's new cloud computing service, which has grown at a CAGR of 52% since 2010.9
Amazon has been able to translate its technological advantages into tangible benefits for
consumers. According to a study conducted by RBC, Amazon is the leader per convenience, price, and selection in the e-commerce industry,10 giving it a dominating position and placing it first on US brand rankings.11 The aura that surrounds Amazon's success results from the
charisma of its founder, Jeff Bezos. Bezos has been nimble at acquiring talent and pushing
employees to constantly create and develop new solutions, while maintaining the focus on customers. "Above all else, align with customers. Win when they win. Win only when they win."12
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