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Amazon’s new delivery program may not hurt UPS and FedEx: Experts

  • Amazon accounts for only a small portion of UPS' and FedEx's revenues, says Keith Schoonmaker, equity analyst at Morningstar.
  • "This is nothing new — that Amazon is taking some ownership of their deliveries," he said.

If Amazon gets into the delivery business, it won't hurt UPS and FedEx as much as expected, analyst Keith Schoonmaker told CNBC on Thursday.

Shares of UPS and FedEx were initially hit on Thursday after a report about competition from Amazon. FedEx ultimately closed a fraction of a point higher, while UPS recovered to close 0.7 percent down.

Schoonmaker, director of industrial equity research at Morningstar, said Amazon accounts for only a small portion of UPS' and FedEx's revenues.

"I think it's important to frame UPS' and FedEx's exposure to Amazon. UPS says that no customer constitutes 10 percent of its revenue, and FedEx says no one constitutes three percent of its revenue. We would gauge earnings exposure more like mid-single digits to UPS and maybe 2 percent for FedEx," he said in an interview with "Closing Bell."

Cargo aircrafts from UPS and FedEx.
Getty Images
Cargo aircrafts from UPS and FedEx.

Bloomberg News reported on Thursday that Amazon is trying out a new delivery program called "Seller Flex" where the company will pick up packages from third parties selling on its platform and deliver the products to consumers. The project would directly take over functions typically handled by UPS and FedEx.

"I lived in downtown Chicago in a dense neighborhood full of high rises, and I've had Amazon deliveries by Amazon independent contractors for probably two years now. So this is nothing new — that Amazon is taking some ownership of their deliveries," Schoonmaker said.

He added that Amazon is "prudently cherry-picking areas with dense delivery" and will probably still leave rural delivery up to other companies.

Meanwhile, Amazon could also take years to establish its new service, according to John Eade, president of Argus Research.

"The goods need to get there in two days or less, and right now, it's UPS and FedEx that can do that best," Eade said in an interview with "Power Lunch."

He also pointed out UPS and FedEx's strong stock growth.

"Second-quarter revenues for UPS were up about 8 percent. FedEx, they had a problem with the cyberattack, but they're growing about the same rate too. Those are great growth numbers," he said.

Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's "Mad Money," isn't sure those numbers will continue to rise much longer.

Amazon distribution threats can have real power, he said Thursday on "Squawk on the Street." He explained that the stock of drugstore chain Walgreens has struggled after news that Amazon could be looking to break into the multibillion-dollar pharmacy market.

When asked whether UPS and FedEx investors should be concerned about Amazon entering the market, Cramer said "yes."

"We'll wait for a second day. See if anyone joins or downgrades these, and then you got your shot," he said, referring to UPS and FedEx.

So far, Amazon shares are outperforming the delivery companies again this year. The internet e-commerce giant is up 29 percent year to date through Wednesday versus UPS' 4 percent and FedEx's 19 percent returns.

— CNBC's Tae Kim and Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report.