Cognex Corporation (NASDAQ: CGNX) has faced challenging conditions in 2022 and 2023, with the machine vision technology company seeing declines across its major end markets.
However, there are signs Cognex could bounce back strongly in 2024 as conditions improve. Here’s why this growth stock has more upside potential.
Cognex’s Key End Markets Faced Headwinds in 2022 and 2023
Cognex develops machine vision systems that use artificial intelligence and deep learning to optimize manufacturing processes across several industries. The company gets revenue from three primary end markets: consumer electronics, automotive, and logistics.
In 2022, all three markets faced economic pressures that led to reduced demand for Cognex’s products and services.
The consumer electronics market slowed down significantly as consumers pulled back spending on discretionary purchases amid high inflation.
Cognex’s machine vision systems help optimize manufacturing of items like smartphone displays and panels. But with consumer electronics demand dropping, manufacturers invested less in new production systems.
Cognex’s automotive market also declined, outside of the electric vehicle and EV battery segments. Overall auto sales dropped as high interest rates hindered demand. In response, automakers scaled back production and reined in capital expenditures.
This directly impacted Cognex, which supplies machine vision tech to monitor and control production lines.
Finally, Cognex’s logistics market crashed after several years of hyper growth. The pandemic-driven e-commerce boom led to massive investment in warehouse automation and robotics systems, which utilize Cognex’s solutions. But e-commerce growth slowed in 2022, causing a pullback in warehouse spending.
Growth Is Projected to Resume in 2023 and Accelerate in 2024
The confluence of these negative trends meant 2022 was a disappointing year for Cognex. Wall Street analysts estimate the company’s revenue will decline 17.5% for the full year 2023.
However, there are signs growth could resume next year and pick up speed in 2024 across all of Cognex’s core markets.
In consumer electronics, while macro conditions remain uncertain, companies cannot delay investing in new products indefinitely. As inflation falls from 40-year highs, demand is expected to recover in late 2023. This should lead manufacturers to boost capital investment in 2024.
Cognex is well positioned to benefit, having strategic partnerships with leaders like Apple. Its machine vision solutions will be critical in optimizing production of the next generation of consumer electronics.
In automotive, EV and battery production remains a bright spot for Cognex, as electric models gain market share. Cognex’s auto revenue grew 15% year-over-year in Q3 2023, excluding legacy internal combustion engine programs.
As interest rates decline, overall auto demand is projected to recover in 2024. This will incentivize automakers to invest in upgraded factory systems, providing a tailwind for Cognex’s sales in the sector.
Logistics Market Poised for Rebound
Perhaps the most promising indicator for Cognex is recent data from the logistics industry. Warehouse automation leader Honeywell Intelligrated reported double-digit order growth in Q3 2023.
This suggests the pullback in e-commerce infrastructure spending has bottomed out. As macro conditions improve in 2023, logistics customers are expected to reaccelerate investments delayed from 2022.
Cognex’s logistics revenue could potentially bounce back to rapid growth levels in 2024. The need for automated fulfillment technology will remain strong as warehouses struggle with labor shortages.
This potential resurgence across all markets points to an inflection point for Cognex in 2024. The stock is still down over 45% from its three-year high, presenting an opportunity for investors before growth accelerates again.
The Bottom Line
2022 and 2023 brought several economic challenges that caused declines in Cognex’s major end markets. But the downturn looks to be temporary.
As inflation falls back from 40-year highs, there are signs of improving conditions heading into 2024. Cognex’s key sectors—consumer electronics, automotive, and logistics—are poised to resume investments in next-gen manufacturing systems.
With shares undervalued relative to historical levels, Cognex has substantial room for upside surprises when growth trends rebound next year. Now could be the time for long-term investors to take a position before the reacceleration gains steam.