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Shopify Doubled In Size in 2020. Can It Maintain the Momentum in 2021? The surge in revenue is due to both an increase in merchants and an increase in shoppers that are not expected to abate.

By Thomas Hughes

This story originally appeared on MarketBeat

Bloomberg | Getty Images

If you doubt the impact of the pandemic on eCommerce and its importance to business today look no further than Shopify (NYSE:SHOP). Shopify is a cloud-based platform for merchants and retailers connecting them with the services and clientele they need. The platform is essentially a white-label service that enables merchants to build out an entire eCommerce channel without the need of hiring tech specialists or buying their own hardware. Although shares are down in the wake of the report the outlook for 2021 is very positive. Investors looking for exposure to one of the fastest-growing trends in the market may want to consider using this weakness as their point of entry.

Shopify was expected to see significant growth in the 2020 period but it was not expected to double in size. The Q4 revenue of $977.74 million is not only up 93.6% from last year but up 26% sequentially and it beat the consensus by 700 basis points. The surge in revenue is due to both an increase in merchants and an increase in shoppers that are not expected to abate.

The company's two operating segments, Subscription Services, and Merchant Services both saw substantial increases with Merchant Services outpacing by a wide margin. The monthly recurring revenue associated with these services is up 10% sequentially and 53% YOY.

In terms of merchandise volume, the company's Gross Merchandise Volume increased 99% under the combined impact of new merchants and new shoppers with Gross Payment Volume up as well. Gross Payment Volume, the amount of merchandise volume handled by the company's own payment processing system, grew to $19.1 billion or 46% of sales.

The only negative in the report is the companies guidance which is more of a caution than an outlook for results. According to the CFO, the Q1 2021 period will likely be the weakest in terms of growth, and that results will likely be spread more evenly across the four quarters of the year. Along with that, the company sees the possibility of retail sales shifting away from eCommerce in the second half as vaccinations become more widespread. The takeaway is that robust growth is still expected, if at a slightly slower pace than in 2020, and trends within the economy will continue to support that growth long into the future.

"Our outlook coming into 2021 assumes that as countries roll out vaccines in 2021 and populations are able to move about more freely, the overall economic environment will likely improve, some consumer spending will likely rotate back to offline retail and services, and the ongoing shift to eCommerce, which accelerated in 2020, will likely resume a more normalized pace of growth."

The technical outlook

Shares of Shopify fell in the wake of the report but there are already signs of buying within the market. The near-term outlook remains bearish with shares moving lower in early action again but the uptrend is still intact. The price action may fall as much as another 20% before hitting firm support at the up trend-line. In that scenario, confirmation of the trend should be viewed as a strong entry signal. In the interim, there is a possibility that support could kick in at the short-term 30-day EMA. If the 30-day EMA is confirmed as support it should also be viewed as an entry point. Longer-term, convergences in the MACD suggest this stock will retest the recently set all-time highs at least.

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