When you’re looking for the best consumer stocks to buy, there’s one important consideration to keep in mind: How much do you trust the American consumer?
Because the U.S. is a wealthy country with an average household income of more than $87,800 and a median household income greater than $61,000. While there’s concern about the possibility of a recession, the U.S. economy appears to be resilient. The unemployment rate is a low 3.4% and employers added more than 500,000 jobs in January.
After a down year in the stock market, Wall Street appears to be rebounding as well. The S&P 500 is up more than 7% since Jan. 1.
The best consumer stocks to buy fall into two categories: consumer discretionary stocks and consumer staples.
Consumer staples stocks tend to have fewer hills and valleys than discretionary stocks, which means they are safer but often don’t offer big returns.
Today we’ll use my free Portfolio Grader tool to evaluate some of the best consumer stocks to buy now, based on factors like recent performance, buying momentum and analyst sentiment.
United Airlines (UAL)
United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) tanked by 77% in early 2020 but from there was an amazing investment opportunity for patient investors. If you bought when United Airlines was less than $20 per share, you’ve profited handsomely with a gain of 99% since May 2020.
But does United Airlines have a second act? I think it does.
United Airlines got off to a strong 30% gain in 2023 but then began pulling back as investors started banking their profits. That’s understandable if you think that the U.S. is really headed into a recession this year.
I’m putting my money on the American consumer. Airline traffic is expected to remain strong this year even if we have a recession. When you factor in the company’s outstanding fourth-quarter earnings report, you see UAL is one of the best consumer stocks to buy out there.
UAL stock has a “B” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
Chewy (NYSE:CHWY) is more of a consumer staple stock than a consumer discretionary name. Buying pet food, toys, medications and accessories are considered by most to be just as essential as many consumer staples for us ordinary humans.
Chewy stock skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic as pet ownership increased and people were more inclined to do their shopping online. While it hasn’t been able to hold on to those gains, CHWY is showing a lot of strength as of late. It’s up 30% in the last three months, making it one of the best consumer stocks to buy on the move.
Wedbush recently gave Chewy an upgrade from “neutral” to “outperform” and raised its price target on CHWY stock from $35 to $55. That represents another 18% in potential growth.
CHWY stock has a “B” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
The global population surpassed 8 billion late last year, and it’s going to take a lot to feed everyone. Food shortages became an even bigger problem last year with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as Ukraine controls roughly 10% of the global wheat market and 15% of the global corn market.
Headquartered in Morehead, Kentucky, AppHarvest (NASDAQ:APPH) operates four indoor farms growing tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers and salad greens. The company says its farms use less water than traditional farms while producing yields up to 30 times greater.
The company delivered its first harvest of tomatoes from its Richmond, Kentucky, farm in January, coinciding with a rapid increase in APPH stock. While AppHarvest is up 45% over the last six months, the stock jumped by 266% since Jan. 1 making in one of the best consumer stocks to catch while you can.
With a market capitalization of only $244 million, APPH is in growth mode. The company announced a $40 million public offering of stock this month, and it expects it issue fourth-quarter earnings in late February.
AAPH stock has a “B” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
Planet Fitness (PLNT)
Planet Fitness (NYSE:PLNT) suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic, of course. For a long time gyms were closed, and even after they opened there weren’t a lot of people who were interested in taking off their masks and breathing hard in close proximity to others. Revenue fell from $688.8 million in 2019 to $406.6 million in 2020.
But Planet Fitness is finally starting to come back. The stock is up 35% over the last three months. Revenue in the third quarter was $244.39 million, better than the $234.57 million that analysts expected.
If Planet Fitness shows a strong Q4 when it next reports earnings on Feb. 23, the stock will show renewed strength. PLNT stock has a “B” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
Pinduoduo (NASDAQ:PDD) is an e-commerce company in China that includes everything from apparel, electronics, cosmetics and more.
Pinduoduo’s platform also allows people to buy and sell fresh produce. That makes Pinduoduo an interesting hybrid of a consumer discretionary and a consumer staples stock.
Pinduoduo stock is on the rise, up 83% over the last six months. Revenue in the third quarter jumped by 65% from a year ago, and operating profit increased by 388%. Net income attributable to ordinary shareholders rose 546%.
With China beginning to lift its Covid-19 lockdowns, Beijing’s economy has a chance to begin to rebound to its former strength. And then when you consider that Chinese officials are announcing that the government’s crackdown on internet companies is “basically” over, then investors should feel pretty good about PDD stock.
Pinduoduo has an “A” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
Draganfly (NASDAQ:DRPO) is a Canadian-based drone company – but these aren’t the kind of drones that you or your neighbor likes to fly around the yard.
These are serious drones used for agriculture, first responders, the military and insurance adjusters. The company also has health screening products that can read and detect someone’s vital signs before they enter a building or hospital – an important feature in a post-Covid world.
Earlier this month, Draganfly signed an agreement that will expand the company’s reach into India, as Remote Sensing Instruments will develop and sell Draganfly drones in that country.
“It is significant for Draganfly to have been pulled into one of the largest, if not the largest, drone markets in the world. The opportunity to be manufacturing and distributing in the Indian market provides a potential scale for us that is years ahead of schedule from what was initially thought possible,” said Draganfly CEO Cameron Chell.
Draganfly only has a market capitalization of $59 million, but the stock is up 155% in the last three months. DRPO stock has a “B” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
If you’re really interested in e-commerce companies but want to invest in something outside the U.S., then MercadoLibre (NASDAQ:MELI) may be the stock for you.
With 667 million monthly visitors, MercadoLibre has a dominant foothold in the Latin American market. It has operations in 18 countries and handles everything from online retail to online financial services.
Its revenue in the third quarter was $2.69 billion, which was a whopping 44% greater than a year ago. And while it narrowly missed expectations for $2.71 billion, MELI exceeded expectations for earnings per share, bringing in $2.56 versus the expected $2.43.
MELI stock is up 24% in the last three months, and it has a “B” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
On the date of publication, neither Louis Navellier nor the InvestorPlace Research Staff member primarily responsible for this article held (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Agriculture, Airline, Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples, Defense, E-Commerce, Food, Industrial, Retail, Technology, Travel