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DOW   39,131.53
QQQ   436.78
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MILAN FASHION PHOTOS: Ferragamo, Dolce&Gabbana conceal and reveal, balance transparency with cover
S&P 500   5,088.80
DOW   39,131.53
QQQ   436.78
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Can Etsy stock craft rebound with support from big investor?

photo of mobile device with Etsy logo displayed laying on planner with glasses and coffee in background

Key Points

  • Etsy gapped up in early February as activist investor Elliott Investment Management revealed a 13% stake. Elliott's Marc Steinberg joined the board.
  • Etsy announced job cuts in a bid to improve efficiency and address stagnant growth.
  • Analysts forecast an uptrend in Etsy's stock, with a consensus price target of $91.96, an upside of 25.27%.
  • 5 stocks we like better than Etsy

Etsy Inc. NASDAQ: ETSY gapped higher in early February on news that Marc Steinberg, a partner at Elliott Investment Management, had taken a seat on the online retailer's board. 

Steinberg is also on the board of Pinterest Inc. NYSE: PINS, of which Elliott is also a shareholder. 

According to reports, Elliott has amassed a 13% stake in Etsy, whose stock is down 48.22% in the past year. 

Elliott is now the largest Etsy shareholder.

In a release, Steinberg said, "I am looking forward to working with the Board and supporting Josh and the team as they execute on initiatives to improve the customer experience, accelerate top-and bottom-line growth, and drive long-term value."

Etsy stock fizzled out in 2022

Etsy's growth has stalled, which has sent the stock lower relative to high-flying AI-related technology stocks

If you look at the Etsy chart, you'll see the stock had a strong run-up between March 2020 and November 2021, as its business model of selling artisan-made goods and other unique products was a perfect fit during the pandemic. 

Earnings increased sharply in 2020 and 2021, but things began cooling off in 2022 as revenue slowed and year-over-year earnings declined. 

Not only had the pandemic online buying craze waned, but inflation and higher interest rates took a bite out of Etsy sales. In addition, Etsy's top-selling product categories include crafts and supplies, jewelry and downloadable files. Consumers could either postpone purchases, find cheaper alternatives or make their own goods to serve their needs. 

The commitment from Elliott, one of the largest activist managers, shows that deep-pocketed investors see potential for Etsy stock to turn around the weak performance.

Etsy's strengths include:

  • Unique product offering: Etsy's platform offers a range of handmade, vintage, and craft supplies. The appeal is to consumers seeking one-of-a-kind items.
  • Support for independent sellers: The Etsy platform allows individual artisans and small businesses to reach a broader audience, giving them a platform to showcase their creations.
  • Community: Etsy strives to develop a sense of community among buyers and sellers, encouraging interaction and feedback. That drives more engagement on the platform. 
  • Personalization and customization: The platform allows buyers to easily discover products tailored to their specific preferences.

According to reports, Etsy has been in discussions with Elliott for several months. And the 13% stake didn't happen overnight; it takes months for an institutional investor to accumulate a significant position in a stock.


Cost cutting and layoffs

Etsy began to refocus on its performance in 2023 with an announcement that it was slashing jobs in a bid for efficiency. In December, the company said it would lay off 225 employees.

"While the Etsy marketplace is still more than double the size it was in 2019, we need to acknowledge and adjust for today's realities," CEO Josh Silverman said in a release.

"We are operating in a very challenging macro and competitive environment, and gross merchandise sales has remained essentially flat since 2021," he added. "This means we are not bringing our sellers more sales, which is the single most important thing we can do for them."

Silverman said employee expenses had grown, which was not a sustainable trajectory. 

Following in Shopify's path

Etsy is following in the footsteps of fellow e-commerce retail specialist Shopify Inc. NYSE: SHOP, which cut costs, largely through layoffs, earlier in 2023. There's been a considerable divergence in the performance of the two companies, with Shopify advancing 58.15% in the past year. 

Wall Street seems optimistic that Etsy can see a rebound in growth. Etsy analyst forecasts show a consensus price target of $91.96, an upside of 25.27%. That would bring the price back to August 2023 levels. 

Following the gap-up after the announcement about the Elliott stake, the stock finished the week ended February 2 with a gain of 8.87%. 

Shares have been selling off gradually the week of February 5, but the view here is longer term; you aren't likely to see this stock take off like a rocket in the next few weeks. Instead, it will take months to see improvement in revenue growth that translates to stock price appreciation. 

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Should you invest $1,000 in Etsy right now?

Before you consider Etsy, you'll want to hear this.

MarketBeat keeps track of Wall Street's top-rated and best performing research analysts and the stocks they recommend to their clients on a daily basis. MarketBeat has identified the five stocks that top analysts are quietly whispering to their clients to buy now before the broader market catches on... and Etsy wasn't on the list.

While Etsy currently has a "Hold" rating among analysts, top-rated analysts believe these five stocks are better buys.

View The Five Stocks Here

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Companies Mentioned in This Article

CompanyMarketRank™Current PricePrice ChangeDividend YieldP/E RatioConsensus RatingConsensus Price Target
Etsy (ETSY)
4.414 of 5 stars
$73.98+4.8%N/A33.03Hold$88.88
Shopify (SHOP)
3.7987 of 5 stars
$76.24+1.6%N/A847.21Hold$76.16
Pinterest (PINS)
3.4341 of 5 stars
$35.86-0.4%N/A-597.57Moderate Buy$37.52
Compare These Stocks  Add These Stocks to My Watchlist 

Kate Stalter

About Kate Stalter

  • stalterkate@gmail.com

Contributing Author

Retirement, Asset Allocation, and Tax Strategies

Experience

Kate Stalter has been a contributing writer for MarketBeat since 2021.

Additional Experience

Series 65-licensed investment advisor, financial advisor, Blue Marlin Advisors; investment columnist for Forbes, U.S. News & World Report

Areas of Expertise

Asset allocation, technical and fundamental analysis, retirement strategies, income generation, risk management, sector and industry analysis

Education

Bachelor of Arts, Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana; Master of Business Adminstration, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

Past Experience

Founder, financial advisor for Better Money Decisions; editor, stock trading instructor for Investor’s Business Daily; columnist, podcast host, video host for MoneyShow.com; contributor for Morningstar magazine


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