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Ecommerce investing in Australia is heating up, and there are many ways to get involved. Here's a look at major stocks and market niches.

Ecommerce is thriving — not just in Australia, but also globally.

Known formally as electronic commerce, ecommerce refers to the buying and selling of goods and services via the internet. This mode of doing business is the norm today, but it hasn't always been so commonplace — ecommerce has grown alongside the rise of the internet, and it's taken savvy companies along with it.

Australia itself is home to a number of ecommerce powerhouses, and it's not hard to see why. According to the Australia Post, Aussies spent a whopping and record-setting AU$50.46 billion shopping online in 2020.

Ecommerce has boomed lately in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic — extended lockdowns have led to increased online shopping, and the trend has continued even as more brick-and-mortar stores get back to business.

Notably, Australia and New Zealand experienced major ecommerce growth last year. A retail insights report released by cloud-based software provider Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) shows that their ecommerce growth was the highest across the world for two consecutive quarters, coming in at 108 percent in Q2 2020 and 107 percent in Q3 2020.

Investing in Australia's ecommerce space

As ecommerce continues to gain ground in Australia, investors are looking for ways to get involved in this thriving industry. There are a number of avenues, but ecommerce stocks can broadly be broken down into four categories:

  • Direct sellers — a physical store that operates online.
  • Marketplace — a platform that connects buyers and sellers, sometimes also a direct seller.
  • Software providers — cloud-based software that facilitates ecommerce through marketing or customer service.
  • Logistics — helps provide structure to facilitate ecommerce, such as delivery or warehousing.

It's worth noting that some market watchers see the Australian ecommerce landscape as crowded.

Fisher Funds, a specialist investment manager, notes that it can be difficult to identify ecommerce leaders in the country because so many traditional retailers have also built successful online businesses. It also notes that the rise of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has made it tough for other online retailers to thrive.

"Guaranteed growth in a category does not guarantee positive investment returns from buying shares in companies in that category," cautions the New Zealand-based firm.

Major ASX-listed ecommerce stocks

So where should investors start when it comes to ecommerce investing in Australia? One place to begin is with the larger players in the industry. Here's a look at some of the biggest ecommerce technology stocks on the market.

1. Temple & Webster (ASX:TPW)

Market cap: AU$1.56 billion

This online furniture and homeware retailer reported that its 2021 fiscal year brought record revenue, profit and customer numbers. Its full-year revenue rose 85 percent year-on-year to hit $326.3 million, while the company's active customers jumped 62 percent over the same period to clock in at 778,000.

2. (ASX:KGN)

Market cap: AU$1.16 billion describes itself as an ecommerce company with a growing portfolio of retail and service businesses. Results for its 2021 fiscal year highlight record-breaking gross sales of $1.18 billion, up 52.7 percent from the previous year. Revenue rose 56.8 percent to hit $780.7 million during that time.

3. (ASX:MYD)

Market cap: AU$190.24 million is an online retail marketplace that focuses on homeware, furniture, household appliances and technology. Listed on October 22, 2020, it had a strong debut when it hit the market.

In its 2021 fiscal year results, the company reported revenue of $38.3 million, an increase of 150 percent year-on-year, and 894,225 active customers, up 83 percent in that same time.

4. Maggie Beer Holdings (ASX:MBH)

Market cap: AU$149.24 million

Maggie Beer Holdings represents four premium brands focused on gifting, food and beverages: Maggie Beer Products, Paris Creek Farms, Saint David Dairy and Hampers & Gifts Australia. Results for the company's 2021 fiscal year show that its net profit rose 18.8 percent year-on-year to reach $52.9 million; it also completed the acquisition of Hampers & Gifts Australia during the period.

5. Cashrewards (ASX:CRW)

Market cap: AU$68.97 million

Cashrewards is a cashback loyalty program that connects brands with buyers. The company completed its initial public offering toward the end of 2020, and in its 2021 fiscal year results it highlights the acquisition of 331,390 new members, up 64 percent year-on-year; it now has 1.1 million members. Reported revenue came to $22.1 million.

Other ASX-listed ecommerce ideas

As mentioned, there are also choices for those who want to get outside the box in terms of ecommerce investing in Australia. Businesses that facilitate ecommerce logistics can also be a good choice — examples include companies like Brickworks (ASX:BKW), which builds high-tech warehouses for Amazon and Coles Group (ASX:COL).

What's the outlook for ecommerce in Australia?

In its Australian Retail Outlook 2021 report, KPMG declares 2021 the year of retailing, stating, "The pressure on retailers to remain relevant in the eyes of the consumer has never been stronger."

The rapid pivot to online buying and selling during COVID-19 caught some retailers by surprise, but many of them have since harnessed their ecommerce capabilities and begun to thrive. Experts expect growing trends such as click-and-collect, same-day delivery and digital payments to continue, bringing further opportunities for investors.

Don't forget to follow @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ronelle Richards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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Which ASX technology stocks performed the best in 2021? Here’s a look at the five top ASX technology stocks by share price performance.

Australia is home to a thriving tech sector with fresh investment opportunities emerging across a variety of subsectors, such as gaming, fintech, healthcare and cleantech.

The technology sector currently contributes about AU$167 billion to the Australian economy, according to research commissioned by the Technology Council of Australia. This figure has increased by 79 percent from 2016, representing a growth rate that is more than four times that of most industries. In fact, the tech sector is the third largest economic sector in Australia, behind mining and finance/insurance.

Unsurprisingly, many tech stocks on the ASX have performed well in this landscape.

Below the Investing News Network profiles the five best ASX technology stocks in terms of share price performance in 2021. Data for the companies was gathered on December 31, 2021, using TradingView’s stock screener, and all of the best ASX technology stocks listed had market caps above AU$10 million at that time.

1. Novonix

Market cap: AU$4.45 billion; year-to-date gain: 659.5 percent

The first of the best ASX tech stocks on this list is battery technology company Novonix (ASX:NVX), which specializes in developing battery testing equipment for the worldwide lithium-ion battery market. The company was spun out from Dr. Jeff Dahn’s lab at Dalhousie University; Dr. Dahn is one of the pioneers of the lithium-ion battery.

While not yet a revenue generator, the company has benefited from the explosive growth expected out of the fast-moving global electric vehicle (EV) industry.

In December, Novonix announced preliminary results from an environmental impact study; they show the company’s synthetic graphite EV and energy storage system (ESS) battery anode product offers an approximate 60 percent decrease in CO2 emissions, potentially making it “2.5 times better for the environment than Chinese synthetic graphite EV and ESS battery anode material,” as per the Market Herald.

2. Oneview Healthcare

Market cap: AU$114.57 million; year-to-date gain: 488.89 percent

Oneview Healthcare’s (ASX:ONE) interactive software platform offers digital tools to healthcare providers, patients and families to improve point of care outcomes.

This past spring, the global healthcare tech company launched its cloud-based care platform. “Deployed on Microsoft Azure, this platform enables health systems to quickly adopt technology for engaging patients, reducing non-clinical demands on care teams and optimising clinical and operational effectiveness,” notes a press release.

Oneview has signed a number of contracts for the use of this platform, including with Omaha’s Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Northern Health in Melbourne and Kingman Regional Medical Center in Arizona. In late November, Oneview raised AU$20 million in a private placement with plans to use the funds to further product development, scale its cloud enterprise and strengthen its balance sheet.

3. Emyria

Market cap: AU$105.86 million; year-to-date gain: 318.48 percent

Emyria (ASX:EMD) is a healthcare technology company that specializes in data-backed drug development and operates a network of medical clinics. Using proprietary clinical evidence, the company develops registered treatments for underserved medical needs.

Emyria’s current drug development programs center on cannabidiol (CBD) medicines for mental health, CBD/THC treatments for irritable bowel syndrome and MDMA treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder.

In late November, one of Australia’s largest private investment groups, Tattarang, made a AU$5 million investment in Emyria, which will help the company further advance its drug development work.

4. PlaySide Studios

Market cap: AU$445.38 million; year-to-date gain: 139.13 percent

PlaySide Studios (ASX:PLY) develops mobile games, virtual reality, augmented reality and PC games. The company’s portfolio consists of 52 titles, including original intellectual property games, as well as games developed with the worlds’ largest studios, such as Disney (NYSE:DIS), Warner Bros and Nickelodeon.

PlaySide Studios is Australia’s largest publicly listed gaming technology company, and following its 2020 initial public offering, it generated revenue of AU$10.88 million for the 2021 fiscal year. In November, the company inked a landmark deal with 2K Games, a label of Take-Two Interactive Software (NASDAQ:TTWO).

In the last weeks of 2021, PlaySide signed a number of deals, including a contract with Shiba Inu Games and a partnership with One True King to co-develop a PC-based game, which will also provide access to One True King's 21 million global followers.

5. Universal Biosensors

Market cap: AU$175.98 million; year-to-date gain: 127.59 percent

Last on this list of best ASX tech stocks is medical device technology company Universal Biosensors (ASX:UBI), which develops, manufactures and commercializes diagnostic testing systems for point-of-care providers and at-home use. It has products for blood glucose monitoring, coagulation testing, immunoassays and molecular diagnostics.

“UBI’s biosensor technology platform has been used to deliver more than 10 billion diagnostic tests to patients worldwide generating billions of dollars in sales,” states a company presentation. “We have licensed and partnered new technology and new biosensors with global applications.”

In November, Universal Biosensors signed a three year master collaboration agreement with Mayo Clinic Biopharma Diagnostics. The deal includes work on Universal Biosensors’ Tn antigen cancer biosensor. In late December, the company entered into a global exclusive license agreement with IQ Science for the commercialization of a SARS-CoV-2 N-protein detection test that will use Universal Biosensors' proprietary electrochemical strip and device technology.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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Looking for the best-performing cobalt stocks on the ASX? Here's a look at the three top gainers of 2021.

Cobalt prices have soared this past year, with investors paying more attention to this battery metal.

A large reason for cobalt’s bullish behaviour is that it is used to manufacture lithium-ion batteries, which power electric vehicles (EVs) — as demand for EVs continues to rise, it's likely cobalt demand will remain strong too.

Currently the future of EVs looks bright — the market is growing quickly and is expected to boom over the next decade. In the first half of 2021 alone, EV sales ballooned by 160 percent, and by the end of the year, a total of 15 countries had announced measures to begin transitioning toward an all-electric future.

The three top cobalt-producing countries worldwide are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Russia and Australia — the last of which is investing in ramping up its production of the metal.

With that in mind, which Australian cobalt miners gained the most value in 2021? Read on to learn more about the three best cobalt companies on the ASX by year-to-date share price gains. All information was obtained on December 30, 2021, using TradingView's stock screener.

1. Jervois Global

Year-to-date gain: 63.89 percent; current share price: AU$0.59

Jervois Global (ASX:JRV) is best known for its Finland operations, which produce cobalt for chemical, catalyst, pigment, powder metallurgy and — most significantly — battery applications. The company is currently in the process of launching its new Idaho Cobalt Operations (ICO) and is on track to become the first US cobalt miner.

On December 15, Jervois announced an update on ICO, saying first ore is expected in August 2022, with sustainable production expected by December 2022. The estimated capital expenditure required to stay on schedule has risen to US$99.1 million, up from US$92.6 million, with mine engineering 64 percent complete.

2. Cobalt Blue Holdings

Year-to-date gain: 177.78 percent; current share price: AU$0.50

Cobalt Blue Holdings (ASX:COB) is a rare cobalt-only company, and defines itself by its planned ethical and sustainable extraction and production processes. The firm's flagship New South Wales-based Broken Hill project is slated to produce an average of 3,500 to 3,600 tonnes per year of cobalt once in operation.

In December 2021, Cobalt Blue Holdings announced it has executed a memorandum of understanding with the State of Queensland, acting through the Department of Resources, to assess opportunities for the recovery of cobalt (as well as any coexisting base and precious metals) from mine waste.

3. Australian Mines

Year-to-date gain: 31.25 percent; current share price: AU$0.21

Australian Mines (ASX:AUZ) is aiming to supply metals to the growing EV industry, with a focus on ethical and sustainable production. Its flagship Queensland-based Sconi nickel-cobalt project boasts a mine life of over 30 years and will be capable of processing 2 million tonnes of ore annually.

In late October, Australian Mines reported on its quarterly activities, including an agreement for Korea-based LG Energy Solution, a top global producer of EV batteries, to buy 100 percent of the Sconi project’s nickel-cobalt hydroxide output over an initial six year term. The future agreement indicates that LG Energy Solution will buy a projected 7,000 tonnes of cobalt from Australian Mines over the six year period.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Isabel Armiento, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.