One of the best ways to determine the customer loyalty of growth stocks is to look at their subscriber numbers. 

For example, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) announced in April 2022 that it lost subscribers for the first quarter in more than a decade. Its shares plummeted more than 20% on the news, bottoming at $162.71 in mid-May. In the 10 and a half months since, the stock has nearly doubled in price as the company saw subscriber growth resume.

Higher share prices tend to follow subscriber growth. The trick is finding companies whose subscriber growth is consistently higher. They don’t have to be higher 100% of the time, but they should be up on a year-over-year basis and sequentially most of the time.

To help me choose three growth stocks with loyal customer bases, I’ll lean on the Fount Subscription Economy ETF (NYSEARCA:SUBS), a collection of approximately 50 stocks that benefit from the subscription economy. To be included in the fund, at least half of a company’s revenue must come from subscription-related services or products.

My selections are in the ETF’s top holdings, ranking 9th, 11th and 13th, respectively. They’re all large-capitalization growth stocks. 

TMUS T-Mobile $142.79
ADBE Adobe $373.40
INTU Intuit $419.33

T-Mobile (TMUS)

T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) made headlines recently when it announced that it would pay up to $1.35 billion in cash and stock for the parent company of Mint Mobile, the discount wireless brand that actor Ryan Reynolds invested in during 2019.

Lending his handsome face and charm to Mint Mobile’s ads, Reynolds helped grow its subscriber base. In the 12 months after Reynolds bought in, downloads of the Mint Mobile app increased by 34%, Fortune reports. The same analyst said the app’s monthly active users were up 82% year over year in February and 254% over February 2021.

Wisely, T-Mobile will continue to use Reynolds as a brand ambassador for Mint Mobile. The celebrity is expected to make as much as $300 million from the sale. 

T-Mobile is currently the third-largest mobile carrier in the United States after Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T). In April 2022, I argued that T-Mobile had the right stuff to take market share from the other major wireless carriers. The latest deal certainly accelerates the company’s efforts to do so.  

“Mint has built an incredibly successful digital direct-to-consumer business that continues to deliver for customers on the Un-carrier’s leading 5G network and now we are excited to use our scale and owners’ economics to help supercharge it — and Ultra Mobile — into the future,” said T-Mobile Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mike Sievert.

T-Mobile added 6.4 million postpaid customers in 2022, its eighth consecutive year leading the industry in growth. With the purchase of Mint Mobile, T-Mobile is getting a business that provides discount pricing to its customer base while managing to generate profits. As it applies its marketing muscle to all three brands acquired, T-Mobile ought to be able to challenge AT&T and Verizon for the top carrier crown.

Adobe (ADBE)

Who knows how long Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) can go without laying off employees when it seems more tech companies are cutting their workforces every week. A recent article in Fortune shines some light on the situation: 

So, how did Adobe avoid mass layoffs? A pivot to remote and hybrid work environments during the pandemic created a “robust demand” for technology solutions and digital capabilities, [Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Dan] Durn explains. “But we didn’t get out over our skis in terms of hiring an unusual amount of people,” he says. So, in this now “true demand environment,” Adobe doesn’t have more talent than it ultimately needs, he says.

Adobe reported earnings in mid-March that beat analyst estimates and raised its full-year outlook, citing strong demand for digital content creation tools. In 2022, it grew its Creative Cloud subscribers by nearly 30 million, with a run rate of approximately 1 million new subscriptions per quarter. 

Of course, the hottest thing since sliced bread right now is artificial intelligence (AI) tools. To that end, the company recently released an AI beta version of its Firefly art generator. The editing software’s AI tools allow content creators to improve photos and videos more easily. 

Interestingly, a vital feature of the generative AI software is the “Do Not Train” tag that allows content creators to tag projects so Adobe can’t use the content for model training. The use of AI-generated images has been rife with copyright issues since AI art models appeared on the scene in recent years. 

Finally, Adobe continues to work with regulators to get approval for its $20 billion acquisition of Figma, which provides a collaborative prototype design tool. 

Intuit (INTU)

Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) provides financial management and compliance products and services to more than 100 million customers worldwide. These include popular tax preparation software TurboTax and accounting software QuickBooks.

The company reported its latest quarterly results on Feb. 23. Revenue was up 14% year over year to $3.04 billion while operating income rose 40% to $856 million. In particular, Intuit’s small business and self-employed segment saw revenue jump 20% to $1.9 billion. This is Intuit’s largest segment, accounting for 62.5% of revenue and 68% of its operating profit.  For fiscal 2023, ending April 30, Intuit expects the small business and self-employed segment to see revenue growth of 19% to 20%, helping boost overall revenue by 8% to 9%.

Contributing to the company’s recent growth are its live versions of TurboTax and QuickBooks, which it developed to increase customer engagement. They allow consumers and small-business owners to connect with financial professionals immediately to get their questions answered. And on Feb. 23, Intuit launched live services for TurboTax’s Spanish-speaking customers, providing another avenue for growth. 

“The U.S. Latino population has become the largest growth minority group in the nation and there is no doubt of their influence on today’s economy,” said Cathleen Ryan, senior vice president of marketing for Intuit TurboTax. “TurboTax is committed to understanding their needs and providing in-language and in-culture products and resources that can guide Latino taxpayers through their tax filing experience with confidence and with the support they deserve.”

Given that Hispanic entrepreneurs are starting small businesses at a much faster rate than non-Hispanic entrepreneurs, Intuit is wise to focus on this demographic.

On the date of publication, Will Ashworth did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Will Ashworth has written about investments full-time since 2008. Publications where he’s appeared include InvestorPlace, The Motley Fool Canada, Investopedia, Kiplinger, and several others in both the U.S. and Canada. He particularly enjoys creating model portfolios that stand the test of time. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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