Facebook (FB) is expanding its participation in the e-commerce space with a broader rollout of its Shops feature.
It plans to bring Shops to Marketplace in the U.S. and WhatsApp in select countries. Shops is a feature that enables merchants to build digital storefronts to sell products on Facebook platforms.
Shops launched in 2020 just as the COVID-19 pandemic forced local economies to shut down. It now has enabled about 1.2 million active stores that attract more than 300 million monthly visitors. In addition to expanding its reach, Facebook also plans to introduce personalized ads in Shops.
“We’ll continue to support economic recovery by making further investments in Shops and waiving fees for business sellers through June 2022,” Facebook said in a press release.
As it expands Shops, Facebook notes that the shift to online social shopping will be permanent. It says that even after the pandemic goes away, about one-third of global shoppers plan to spend less time in physical stores. It further says that more than three-quarters of global shoppers obtain shopping ideas from its range of social platforms such as Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Messenger. (See Facebook stock chart on TipRanks).
KeyBanc analyst Justin Patterson reiterated a Buy rating on Facebook stock without assigning it a price target. Patterson highlighted the launch of the Oculus headsets ads test and the global rollout of Reels ads as reasons for maintaining his bullish view on the stock. The analyst sees these developments generating more advertising revenue for Facebook.
“We believe engagement trends for Reels has been solid and expect Reels ads to be a more meaningful contributor to growth in 2022,” commented Patterson.
Consensus among analysts is a Strong Buy based on 29 Buys, 4 Holds, and 1 Sell. The average Facebook analyst price target of $386.19 implies 13.91% upside potential to current levels.
According to TipRanks’ Hedge Fund Trading Activity tool, confidence in FB is currently Very Positive. The cumulative change in holdings across all 61 funds that were active in the last quarter was an increase of 5 million shares.
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