Mobile growth is the big wave of growth for tech companies with Cisco projecting that global mobile data traffic will increase 18-fold between 2011 and 2016. Cisco also expects that mobile data traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 78% percent from 2011 to 2016. The opportunities are vast for companies operating in the mobile arena. Here are four stocks that have strong competitive positions and stand to benefit from the mobile trend:
Facebook (FB) has faced numbers issues after its IPO but the stock has bounced off lows and is now up 20% over the past month. The company is focused on mobile growth and knows that it will be the key to its growth. FB has been making changes to its mobile strategy recently as mobile growth has been somewhat of a disappointment for the stock so far. One of the key steps Facebook has taken in recent months was to ditch HTML5 in favor of building native apps for iOS and Android devices. In the Facebook conference last month, Zuckerberg called the company's bet on HTML5 its biggest mistake to date, acknowledging that the programming technology in the near future wouldn't be able to deliver the same capabilities as native apps. Facebook's recently updated iOS app has been well received and Zuckerberg said a new Android app is coming soon, without being more specific.
He had more good news and noted that the Sponsored Story ads running in the mobile news feed are performing better than the standard display ads that run on the right side of Facebook pages and generate the bulk of its revenue.
Glu Mobile (GLUU) is a leading global publisher of 3D Social Mobile games for smartphone and tablet devices. Glu's unique technology platform enables its titles to be accessible to a broad audience of consumers all over the world - supporting iOS, Android, Palm, Windows Phone 7 devices and beyond. Glu is focused on bringing the best in social, freemium, cross-platform mobile gaming experiences to the mass market. Founded in 2001, Glu is headquartered in San Francisco and has major offices in Brazil, China, Russia and the UK. Glu is focused on creating compelling original IP and also partners with leading entertainment brands including Activision, Atari, Caesar's and Fox.
With GLUU, you can expect to benefit from the mobile gaming trend for which revenue is expected to triple by 2016. With its strong position in freemium games and on the path to profitability, GLUU may end up being one of the big winners in the next few years. Revenue for the company is expected to jump nearly 36% next year to $131 million and the company is expected to turn a profit.
Other mobile games/apps companies include Zynga (ZNGA) with 306 million current active monthly users, Rovio Entertainment, the creator of the globally successful Angry Birds franchise (reported to IPO in 2013) and Bitzio (BTZO.OB), an interesting company that just announced a licensing partnership with the NFL Players Association to develop NFL player-based apps and market them to its 180 million NFL fans. Instead of depending on hope, Bitzio "pre-monetizes" large, passionate communities; it licenses the media rights of well-established sports and entertainment properties and then develops games/apps for them. Powering and underlying all of these apps is the Bitzio Engine, which captures valuable user data and drives increased user monetization. "If you build it, they will come," is a nice line for a movie, but not a proven business strategy. Bitzio's focused and integrated approach to the app industry may help it overcome some of the hurdles of uncertainty confronting the larger generalists.
Angie's List (ANGI) is a somewhat of an under-the-radar social media stock as it is overshadowed by Zynga and Facebook. It went public late last year and as Zynga and Facebook, the stock hasn't performed well. However, the growth for ANGI is phenomenal; revenue is expected to jump 72% this year and another 46% next year, making it one of the fastest growth companies on the market. The driving force behind that growth is the paid memberships as the company continues to add new members at a staggering pace.
For those unfamiliar with the story, Angie's List collects consumer reviews on local service providers ranging from home improvement to healthcare in more than 550 service categories. More than one million paying households in the United States rely upon Angie's List to help them make the best hiring decisions. Members get unlimited access to local ratings, exclusive discounts, the Angie's List Magazine and help from the Angie's List complaint resolution service.
Groupon's (GRPN) stock has basically collapsed after its IPO late last year and is now trading at just $5 a share. With more than one-third of its market cap in cash, and an earnings expectations of 36 cents a share next year, the forward P/E, adjusted for cash, is just 8x. That is a pretty cheap multiple for a company expected to grow its revenue at a rate of 45% in 2012 followed by 19% in 2011. Although it seems obvious at this point that the IPO price of the stock was too high, now it seems like the stock has taken a beating. Something to note about Groupon is its turnover at the senior management level as just last week another executive left.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.