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With the recent Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) IPO, e-commerce stocks draw a lot of investor attention these days.
Some say Alibaba is the best stock to buy, pointing to its dominant position in a massive Chinese consumer market.
One thing everyone agrees on is that the e-commerce market is on the verge of explosive growth.
Right now, e-commerce is only about 6.5% of all U.S. retail sales. But growth has been steady.
Forrester Research expects U.S. online sales to grow 57.4% over five years, from $263 billion in 2013 to $414 billion in 2018.
Consumers are also getting increasingly comfortable shopping on their smartphones and tablets. Mobile e-commerce shot up 48% in the second quarter, three times the rate of desktop-based e-commerce.
To be sure, the big names of e-commerce, Amazon and Alibaba, will benefit from this growth.
But both are obvious choices. By now, most investors looking for e-commerce stocks to buy already own BABA, AMZN, or both.
And where AMZN is concerned, many investors remain queasy about buying a stock that consistently posts earnings losses and has a stratospheric price-to-earnings ratio of over 800. The Standard & Poor's 500 average P/E is just under 19.
But one of the best alternatives to the big names of Alibaba and Amazon is completely under the radar.
It's a household name that almost no one associates with e-commerce. The company launched in 1982 in Florida, and is worth $3.46 billion.
About the Author
Dave has been a journalist for more than 35 years, including 18 spent at The Baltimore Sun. He has worked as a writer, editor, and page designer at different times in his career. He's interviewed a number of well-known personalities - ranging from punk rock icon Joey Ramone to Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Over the course of his journalistic career, Dave has covered many diverse subjects. Since arriving at Money Morning in 2011, he has focused primarily on technology. He's an expert on both Apple and cryptocurrencies. He started writing about Apple for The Sun in the mid-1990s, and had an Apple blog on The Sun's web site from 2007-2009. Dave's been writing about Bitcoin since 2011 - long before most people had even heard of it. He even mined it for a short time.
Dave has a BA in English and Mass Communications from Loyola University Maryland.