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Afterpay (ASX:APT) one of top 10 lockdown winners

ten, 10, top 10, top ten

It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic – and associated economic lockdowns – produced a bevy of both winners and losers. The social and commercial changes that we all went through during March and April were massive. And some companies just seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Think Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) as one such example. 

Of course, there have been others where the pandemic came at the best possible time, and are sitting in a healthy tailwind today. Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) is one, Zoom Video Communications Inc (NASDAQ: ZM) another.

But those are the obvious winners, and the pandemic (unfortunately) is likely to be with us long enough for some real structural changes to become permanent in the economy. Luckily, accounting firm KPMG has produced a list of the 10 brands in Australia that were voted the best at delivering excellent customer service during events of 2020 so far. Some of the names you’ll know, others might come at a  surprise. So I think this report is worth analysing for any investor looking to navigate the uncharted waters we’re all sailing through right now.

So without further ado, here are the top 10 brands, as selected by Australian consumers, that have been serving their customers the best during the lockdowns:

  1. First Choice Liquor
  2. IKEA
  3. Afterpay
  4. Boost Juice
  5. Rebel
  6. PayPal
  7. Red Energy
  8. Dan Murphy’s
  9. ING
  10. Best & Less

Some very interesting names here to be sure.

So, Of these 10 names, just 4 are owned by ASX-listed companies. 1 is an Australian government-owned company, with 4 being owned by foreign companies (public and private), and one being a privately-owned Australian company. Let’s dig in:

Some Aussie winners from the lockdown

So going down the list, first up we have First Choice Liquor. First Choice is a bottleshop chain owned by Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL), Australia’s second-largest grocery chain.

Next, we have Swedish furniture giant IKEA, which is a privately-owned company based in Sweden.

Afterpay is (of course) owned by Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT), the buy now, pay later (BNPL) pioneer, and ultra-popular growth-share as of late.

Boost Juice is an Australian company, but not a public one. It is owned by both co-founder Janine Allis, as well as by Retail Zoo, which is, in turn, owned by both Allis and private capital company Bain. This is an Australian success story, but unfortunately not one you can buy shares of today.

Rebel is a sports outlet owned by the ASX-listed Super Retail Group Ltd (ASX: SUL), which also owns the Super Cheap Auto chain, as well as the Macpac and BCF chains.

PayPal is owned by the eponymous Paypal Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL), an American-listed company. Red Energy is an energy retailer fully owned by Snowy Hydro, the Australian government-owned power generator.

Dan Murphy’s is another bottle-chop chain that competes with First Choice Liquor. Unsurprisingly, it is owned by Coles arch-rival Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW).

Lastly, we have ING, a bank listed in the Netherlands, as well as discount retailer Best & Less, currently owned by a private South African company called Pepkor.

The report quotes Amanda Hicks, a national managing partner at KPMG, as stating the following regarding this list:

Looking at our findings through a COVID-19 lens, companies which were able to maintain a level of commercial cadence, the rhythm associated with how customers and organisations transact and interact, ranked highest

Foolish takeaway

I think all of the company’s and brands listed in KPMG’s report are quality companies. Of the ASX-listed companies mentioned, I’m most excited about Super Retail Group and Afterpay. Dan Murphy’s and First Choice are quality businesses as well. But in reality, both are small components of Coles and Woolworths’ overall businesses. It just goes to show that both the importance of healthy customer relations, as well as that winners can keep on winning, even under seemingly bleak circumstances.

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Sebastian Bowen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and recommends Netflix, PayPal Holdings, and Zoom Video Communications. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO and recommends the following options: long January 2022 $75 calls on PayPal Holdings. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Super Retail Group Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of COLESGROUP DEF SET and Woolworths Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Netflix, PayPal Holdings, and Zoom Video Communications. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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