One trick to investing is trying to predict the future -- but that doesn't mean you should buy a crystal ball and attempt to time the market. Instead, pay attention to secular trends, and look for companies that could benefit over the long term.

For instance, Adobe Systems (ADBE 1.53%) is powering digital transformation, and Tesla (TSLA -0.08%) is revolutionizing the automotive industry. More importantly, both should continue to benefit from these unstoppable trends in the years ahead.

Here's what you should know.

Young adults engaging with mobile apps on smartphones.

Image source: Getty Images

1. Adobe Systems

A digital-first business model is no longer optional -- it's a necessity. Each year, more consumers shop online, connect through social media, and engage with mobile apps, and they expect a high-quality experience across every touchpoint. Fortunately, Adobe has the tools to make that happen.

Adobe is best known for its digital media business, which comprises two platforms. The first is Adobe Creative Cloud, a software suite that includes industry-leading products like Photoshop for image editing, Illustrator for graphics, and InDesign for digital publishing.

The second is Adobe Document Cloud, a suite that enables clients to create, edit, share, and sign digital documents. Collectively, these tools drive efficiency by eliminating costly paper-based processes.

Beyond digital media, Adobe also offers a third platform: Adobe Experience Cloud. This software helps clients with analytics, marketing, and commerce, making it possible to collect data, target content, and deliver engaging experiences across digital touchpoints. Notably, research company Gartner has recognized Adobe as a leader in this category.

With this impressive arsenal of products, the company has delivered strong financial results like clockwork in recent years. 

Metric

Q2 2018 (TTM)

Q2 2021 (TTM)

CAGR

Revenue

$8.1 billion

$14.4 billion

21%

Free cash flow

$3.3 billion

$6.6 billion

26%

Data source: Ycharts. TTM = trailing-12-months. CAGR = compound annual growth rate.

Looking ahead, the bull case for this company is straightforward: Adobe has built a trusted brand and established itself as a leader in several software verticals. As more enterprises adopt digital-first strategies, Adobe should benefit from strong demand.

With that in mind, management puts the company's market opportunity at $147 billion by 2023, leaving plenty of room for Adobe to grow its business. That's why this tech company looks like a smart buy.

Red Tesla Model Y cruising down the road.

Image source: Tesla

2. Tesla

The electric vehicle (EV) market is growing quickly. Last year, global EV sales surged 41% to 3.1 million units, representing 4.6% of all cars sold. Despite that furious pace of adoption, Tesla managed to boost production and maintain its industry-leading position, capturing 16% market share in 2020.

At the same time, Tesla posted an industry-leading operating margin of 6.3% last year, showcasing the scalability of its manufacturing process. In fact, between 2017 and 2021, the company's average cost per vehicle dropped from $84,000 to $38,000 as it increased output in the U.S. and ramped production China.

But this disruptor is just getting started. Tesla recently purchased the largest die casting machine in the world. And in early 2021, it started making the rear body of the Model Y as a single piece of metal, cutting labor costs by combining 70 different components into one. But here's the most impressive part: To accomplish that feat, Tesla invented and patented new aluminum alloys, since existing options made poor substrates for die casting.

Not surprisingly, Tesla has delivered impressive financial results in recent years.

Metric

Q2 2018 (TTM)

Q2 2021 (TTM)

CAGR

Revenue

$13.7 billion

$41.9 billion

45%

Gross profit margin

14.4%

22%

N/A

Source: Ycharts. TTM = trailing-12-months. CAGR = compound annual growth rate.

During the Q2 earnings call, CEO Elon Musk said Gigafactory Texas and Berlin will use single-piece casting for both the front and rear bodies of the Model Y. In other words, Tesla is pressing its advantage. And as these factories come online later in 2021, the company should reap the benefits of increased production capacity and manufacturing efficiency.

That's why now looks like a good time to buy this growth stock.