Robinhood Investors Use Earnings Call to Ask the Big Question: When Can We Get Branded Merch?
Robinhood, the stock trading and investing app best known for its role in the Great Gamestop Debacle of 2021, held its second quarter earnings call last week, giving shareholders the opportunity to ask questions about the company's financials, its cryptocurrency strategy and its plans for [checks notes] branded merchandise?
Yes, according to Markets Insider, Robinhood received over 1,300 questions from investors and analysts ahead of the call and answered them in order by number of votes. The first four questions, in order, were about (1) dividend payouts, (2) crypto wallets, (3) IRA 401(k) and HSA accounts, and (4) international expansion plans.
And, then, the fifth top-voted question: "As initial investors, can we get a Robinhood hat and hoodie jacket?"
Jason Warnick, chief financial officer for Robinhood, took that one.
"So love the enthusiasm for the brand," he said, according to a transcript of the call from Seeking Alpha. "I know Robinhood employees get really excited about swag. We’d love to find a way to get that in the hands of our customers. So I can’t make a commitment right now. But I will say that we’ll go look at this. I think it’s a great idea to get our branded merchandise in the hands of our community."
This might seem a little out of place on an earnings call. And Warnick's answer indicates that Robinhood doesn't really have a long-term branded merchandise strategy, though the company has used it (and some clever signage) before:
— Michael Haley (@michael_s_haley) July 29, 2021
But let's look at the bigger picture. Robinhood reported a net loss of $502 million and underperformed Wall Street projections. And yet shareholders were asking about how they could get branded merchandise.
That proves two things: One, Robinhood shareholders are pretty passionate about the company and, two, they consider branded merchandise the natural and obvious way to show that support. Remember, out of 1,300 questions, that one got the fifth-most votes. People now expect brands to have merch. Here, they're requesting it outright.
Robinhood fans and investors will have to wait for their hats and hoodie jackets. But it's safe to say that stock in the promo industry is only rising in the eyes of consumers.