Well-chosen stocks can help you grow richer, but it takes time to generate truly life-changing gains. And it's the stocks that you can buy and hold on to for many years that give you the best chance at those serious returns on investment.

That's why it's so important to seek out and invest in dominant companies that are benefiting from powerful long-term growth opportunities. Here are three such companies that I think can stand the test of time -- and deliver sizable profits to you for the next decade and beyond.

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The e-commerce juggernaut

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is being buoyed by multiple megatrends. The first is the growth of e-commerce around the world. Amazon dominates this market in the U.S. and many other countries. Yet online sales still account for less than 15% of total global retail sales, so Amazon's opportunity to grow its revenues remains massive.

The second major trend is the migration of computing to the cloud. Amazon Web Services is the global leader in cloud infrastructure services. This is a market that's projected to grow from $73 billion in 2019 to $166.6 billion by 2024, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets. AWS's revenues are rising quickly and it's generating massive profits, both conditions that are likely to persist well into the coming decade.

The third trend is the rise of digital advertising. Revenue growth is accelerating for Amazon's digital ad business, thanks to its highly relevant product-listing ads and improving search technology. Amazon's growth in this space has been so impressive that it's become a threat to advertising giants such as Google (a subsidiary of Alphabet). Given that Amazon is expected to continue gaining share in a digital ad market that's on course to exceed $500 billion by 2023, according to eMarketer, this business represents yet another reason shareholders can expect to profit in the years ahead.

The digital payment titans 

The global shift away from cash and toward digital forms of payment is another powerful growth opportunity. And no two businesses stand to profit from this megatrend more than Visa (NYSE:V) and Mastercard (NYSE:MA).

As the operators of the largest payment-processing networks, they stand at the epicenter of the massive digital payments industry. Mastercard and Visa earn small fees on all the transactions they facilitate, including every time someone makes a purchase with one of the nearly 6 billion debit and credit cards on their combined networks. With thousands of transactions processed every second and well over 100 billion every year, these small fees add up to massive sums. Visa and Mastercard generated $14.7 billion and $9.3 billion in operating profits, respectively, in just the past year.

These profits have enabled these companies to steadily expand their reach. In 2019 alone, Visa acquired businesses that strengthened its cross-border payment, point-of-sale software, and dispute resolution technology. Mastercard is also on the hunt for value-creating acquisitions and has made deals in areas such as real-time ACH (automated clearing house) payments, fraud detection, and analytics in recent years. These acquisitions are helping to widen Visa and Mastercard's competitive moats and fortifying their future earnings power.

The payment titans' profit generation is so strong that even after investing significant sums in growth, they're still able to reward their shareholders with rapidly growing dividends. Visa and Mastercard recently boosted their cash payouts by 20% and 21%, respectively. Better still, with both companies' earnings projected to grow at an annualized rate of more than 15% over the next half-decade, investors can expect more dividend increases -- and corresponding share-price appreciation -- in the coming years.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.