Any investor would love to get their hands on a crystal ball and take a quick peek at what's going to happen over the next decade. The problem is, those crystal balls are hard to come by, so we all have to settle for looking at what companies are doing right now -- and attempt to anticipate how that will help or hurt them in the future.
The good news is that there are companies positioning themselves for growth over the next decade, and setting themselves up to dominate in their respective markets. Take a look:
Amazon.com (AMZN 2.57%) has its hands in so many business it's hard to keep up. For some companies, that degree of diversification can proof more trouble than it's worth, but Amazon's has shown it can sell everything from tablets to its Echo speaker, while simultaneously creating award-winning television shows and managing a massive online consumer goods marketplace, and still have business bandwidth to power some of the biggest websites through its Amazon Web Services unit.
The company's ability to diversify its businesses -- while still tying many of them to its Prime service -- has given Amazon a lead over its competitors that won't fade any time soon.
With a $581 billion market cap, Google parent Alphabet (GOOG -0.08%) (GOOGL -0.16%) is a juggernaut of the technology industry, yet it still innovates like a much smaller, scrappier company. Alphabet may still earn most of its revenue -- 99% -- from Google, but that hasn't stopped it from making big bets on the driverless car market and even moonshots like curing cancer.
Among the more than 20 companies under the Alphabet umbrella, there are units trying to secure major positions in the future of transportation, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the burgeoning Internet of Things. Add to that the company's mobile dominance with its Android platform, and its new devices like the Pixel Phone and Google Home and its crystal clear that Alphabet will still be one of the most dominant tech giants a decade from now.
Every day, the world feels like it gets a little bit smaller and slightly more connected, and Facebook (FB 1.41%) deserves at least partial credit for that. With more than 1.86 billion users on the company's main platform, and more growth coming in huge markets like India, Facebook shows no sign of slowing down in the social media space.
The company plans to have 5 billion users by 2030. Take a minute and remember that we have 7 billion people on the planet right now. That's a hefty goal, but if any company can do it it's Facebook. Aside from its main Facebook platform, the company is investing billions in connecting people around the world through its WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger, and is investing heavily in building what CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls "the next computing platform" -- virtual reality.
4. Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin (LMT 1.07%) has gotten some flak for the high price of its F-35 Lightning stealth fighter jet, as President Trump has so kindly pointed out on Twitter. But despite the criticisms, the F-35 is poised to help Lockheed Martin dominate the aerospace industry over the next decade.
Consider that the F-35 is expected to be in service until 2070 and could bring in more than $1 trillion in revenue for the company over that time span. Sure, Lockheed may further trim the cost of the planes -- as it did recently, when it announced its long-term efforts to reduce costs had cut the price on its next batch of 90 planes by $700 million -- but with more than 50 years of revenues expect to come from this jet family, there's little reason to be skeptical of Lockheed's dominance.
Not so long ago, the idea of Netflix (NFLX 4.15%) being capable of creating original, award-winning programming would have seemed absurd. But over the past few years, the company has amassed a vast trove of original content that has not only won over critics but also helped the company win new customers. In fact, 57% of the streaming service's U.S. subscribers say they signed up for because of its original content.
Netflix now boasts about 93.8 million subscribers in 190 countries, and it's still growing. The company faces rising competition from Amazon's Prime video service, but says it plans on investing $6 billion in original content this year, which should help it fend off rivals. A decade from now, Netflix will have the advantage of that much more original content production under its belt, and more streaming experience than any of its competitors.
Walt Disney (DIS 1.64%) expanded its empire back in 2009 when it purchased Marvel Studios for $4 billion, and followed that up with another $4 billion purchase -- of Lucasfilm -- in 2012. Those two entertainment land-grabs alone will provide huge catalysts for the company over the next decade, as it reaps the benefits from the Star Wars franchise, Marvel movies, merchandise, licensing ... you get the picture.
Add to all of that the company's long list of theme parks, cruise ships, resorts, and its Pixar Studios, and it's easy to foresee Disney holding a powerful position the entertainment business for years to come. The company will have to adapt to a shifting pay-TV landscape, and adjust to how those changes will impact the company's all-important ESPN networks. But investors would be wise to remember that the company already has many decades worth of strategy-shifting experience.
7. General Electric
General Electric (GE 0.01%) has weathered more changes than most companies over its 100-plus year history, and the conglomerate recently reinvented itself once again to benefit from the rapidly evolving industrial and technological landscape.
Consider that CEO Jeff Immelt said back in 2015 that his company is "on track to become a top 10 software company." Software may seem like a far cry from the engine turbines and other industrial equipment GE is known for, but it's anticipating the rise of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), in which equipment is connected to the Internet, collects data, and then analyzes it, helping make companies and systems more efficient. GE is already well on its way in this market, and with the IIoT estimated to add $14.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030, there's plenty of room for growth.
Compared to other U.S. automakers, Tesla (TSLA 4.88%) is still in its infancy, but the electric carmaker is quickly becoming key player in the space. Tesla is preparing to launch its fourth vehicle, the Model 3, later this year, and estimates that it will produce 500,000 cars annually starting in 2018.
That's not so impressive when compared to, say, Ford's 2.6 million U.S. vehicle sales last year. But Tesla is betting that the future of passenger cars is electric, and it's building out a vast network of supercharger stations across the U.S and Europe to fuel them, has already built the battery-making Gigafactory to help drive down vehicle costs, and is a leader in the driverless car space. If electric and self-driving vehicles are the future, then the next decade could certainly be dominated by Tesla.
Oracle (ORCL 1.16%) is slowly shifting from a hardware-dominated sales model to one that generates more recurring revenue from software and services. Its cloud computing revenue was up 64% year over year in its most recent quarter, and topped $1 billion for the first time. Oracle is now the leading cloud computing provider for companies that have 1,000 or more employees, and has made major investments in the space with acquisitions such as cloud provider NetSuite, which it picked up for a cool $9.3 billion.
The shift away from hardware to software and services may have been slow in coming for Oracle, but it's making up for lost time, and betting that its current cloud investments will pay off over the long term. Given its current position in the tech world, and its rising power in cloud computing, you can bet Oracle will maintain its position for years to come.
No other company dominates the sports apparel world like Nike (NKE 0.85%), and at this point, there's virtually no stopping it. It has not only built one of the strongest brands on the planet, but it also knows how to keep the momentum going. Consider that the company's $93 billion market cap allows it do things like sign a lifetime sponsorship deal with Lebron James that's estimated to be worth up to $1 billion.
But branding is only part of the company's staying power. Nike has proved that it can continue innovating its product lines, and it has 40-plus years of success in marketing them in the right way. Others may sprint faster for a time to gain share in the $320 billion athletic apparel market, but Nike is running a marathon, and it's clear it trained harder and has more stamina than any of its competitors.