European e-shopping could favor ECST, NILE, OSTK, REDE more than AMZN, EBAY

by: David Jackson

The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required) that savy Europeans are taking advantage of their strong currencies by shopping from U.S. online retailers. The article mentions Amazon as a potential beneficiary. But here's a point to consider for investors in e-tail stocks:

The ecommerce companies that will benefit most from foreign demand are those that don't have foreign operations. Amazon, for example, has distribution centers in Europe. And eBay has local sites in most European countries. So if residents of those countries buy from U.S. sites to take advantage of their currencies, it may boost overall online shopping - and that would be good for both companies. But some of that shopping may come at the expense of AMZN's and EBAY's local sites.

Contrast that with e-tailers that haven't yet set up shop in European countries. Overstock, and smaller e-tailers like Red Envelope, eCost, Blue Nile and (the soon to go public) have no European business. So they may see a larger net increase in foreign demand.

Increased foreign demand for goods sold by U.S. e-tailers should also help the comparison shopping engines -, Froogle, Yahoo! Shopping, and CNET.

Full disclosure: at the time of writing I'm long SHOP.