The metaverse is where folks can virtually interact with each other and the environment. According to consulting firm McKinsey, the industry is poised to generate $5 trillion in sales by 2030. It's no surprise that companies are lining up to capitalize on the massive opportunity. Investors, too, can take advantage of this emerging trend.

My two favorite stocks for investors looking to benefit from the growth of the metaverse are Meta Platforms (META 3.87%) and Roblox (RBLX 4.10%). The former is newly entering the industry with big ambitions, and the latter is one of the pioneers of the metaverse. Let's see why each deserves a spot in your portfolio. 

Meta has big plans for the metaverse

Meta Platforms was formerly known as Facebook. For over a decade, it has operated a dominant social media business with nearly 3 billion daily active users across its platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. With its CEO Mark Zuckerberg anticipating changing consumer trends, the company announced a substantial pivot to become a metaverse-first business. 

Meta Platforms already spent $10 billion in 2021 building out this vision. To put that figure into context, Meta's total revenue that year was $118 billion. In some ways, the metaverse is not that different from social media. It will facilitate communications through electronic devices like computers, smartphones, and virtual reality headsets. Those interactions are said to be more realistic in virtual reality, allowing for eye contact and body language, formerly unavailable through traditional electronic communications. 

META Operating Income (Quarterly) Chart

META Operating Income (Quarterly) data by YCharts

Moreover, Meta could have an advantage starting with its massive user totals. Meta earned an operating income of $46.7 billion on the $118 billion revenue in 2021. Investors gain a hefty reward if the metaverse proves to be a more significant business.

Roblox has long been a metaverse company 

While Meta is newly entering the metaverse business, Roblox was one of its pioneers. It boasts 58.5 million daily active users as of its most recent update in July. That was 26% higher than at the same time last year. Roblox is free to join and use. However, there are premium items and experiences on the platform that players must pay for before using. Roblox has done an excellent job getting customers to spend money, expanding revenue from $325 million in 2018 to $1.9 billion in 2021.

RBLX Revenue (Annual) Chart

RBLX Revenue (Annual) data by YCharts

Roblox has yet to reach a scale where it can consistently deliver profits, but it is generating robust cash from operations. Roblox outsources the creation of the premium experiences to third-party developers and pays them a percentage of the revenue their designs earn. In that way, Roblox only pays for content that customers want. Additionally, since Roblox collects cash from players up front and only pays developers after they spend on experiences, it produces generous cash flows.

If the metaverse industry indeed expands to $5 trillion, as McKinsey predicts, Roblox could be in line for solid growth in the future. Meta Platforms and Roblox are in an excellent position to thrive alongside the expansion of the metaverse. Long-term investors who are as bullish on the metaverse as McKinsey can add Meta Platforms and Roblox stocks to their portfolios.