With the stock market sell-off in 2022, it's become increasingly important to invest in reliable companies that can provide consistent growth for the long term. Moreover, if fears of a recession in 2023 prove to be valid, it will be crucial to hold on to stocks throughout potential market declines. 

Apple (AAPL -0.81%), Microsoft (MSFT -0.66%), and Walt Disney (DIS -0.83%) are each excellent stocks to consider holding for the long haul.

1. Apple

As growth stocks go, few are as reliable and resilient as Apple. The company's shares have risen 252% over the last five years despite steep market declines in 2022, and are likely to continue growing for at least another five years.

The iPhone manufacturer has become a haven for investors, with its stock falling 17% year to date while the Nasdaq-100 Technology Sector index has plummeted 34% in the same time frame. The company has remained strong throughout market downturns and diminishing consumer spending thanks to continued demand for its products and services. 

For instance, according to IDC, worldwide smartphone shipments saw a year-over-year decline of 9.7% in the third quarter of 2022. The fall in demand led companies such as Samsung, Xiaomi, and Oppo to lose between 7.8% to 22.3% market share in the industry. But Apple saw the only growth among its competitors, with its market share rising by 1.6% to a total of 17.2%.

Apple has proved its resilience in 2022 but also has the cash to continue investing in its business and overcome further economic declines. As of Sept. 30, the company's free cash flow stood at $20.84 billion, significantly higher than Alphabet's $16 billion and Amazon's negative $4.97 billion.

With potent products and cash in the bank, Apple is an excellent investment to hold for the long haul.

2. Microsoft 

Similarly to Apple, Microsoft has proved its worth as a long-term hold, with its stock price increasing 200% over the last five years. The company's biggest strength is the diversification present throughout its business and segments, with products such as Windows, Xbox, Office, and Azure giving it considerable market shares in multiple booming industries. 

Microsoft's computer operating system, Windows, has held on to a majority market share for the last decade, despite the presence of Apple's Mac OS and Alphabet's Chrome OS. In fact, from December 2021 to June 2022, Windows' market share grew from 73.72% to 76.33%, stealing share from competitors. 

Moreover, the company has leveraged its dominance in operating systems to further its gaming efforts, expanding its Xbox brand to PC gaming. As a result, its Xbox Game Pass subscription service, available on PC and its Xbox game consoles, hit 25 million subscribers in January 2022, up from 10 million in 2020. Considering that the $195 billion video game market is expected to see compound annual growth of 14.1% from 2022 to 2030, Microsoft is well positioned to see significant gains.

With Microsoft's asset in Windows, its swiftly growing gaming business, and its expanding cloud computing business with Azure, the company can almost guarantee long-term growth. 

3. Disney

In 2023, Disney will enter its second century of business, solidifying it as one of the most successful entertainment companies in history. It has demonstrated the staying power of its brands, such as Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Walt Disney Pictures. These brands have also helped its streaming business grow considerably in the last few years, with its total subscriber count at 235 million versus Netflix's 223 million.

Disney's stock has fallen 39% since January as its consumer-reliant business has investors worried for its immediate future. And the company's $30 billion content spending in 2022, in conjunction with a 3% decline in Media and Entertainment revenue, has only furthered skepticism about its streaming endeavors.  

But management is taking strides toward profitability with Disney+. CEO Bob Chapek said in the company's latest earnings call that he expects the service to achieve profitability in fiscal 2024. Steps such as raising prices across all of its streaming platforms, launching an ad-supported tier on Disney+ in December, and reducing its content spending are each likely to pay off in the long run. 

And Disney's parks business skyrocketed in 2022 after suffering from pandemic closures in 2021. In the fourth quarter of 2022, parks revenue grew 36% year over year, to $7.4 billion, with the segment's operating income rising 136% to $1.5 billion.  

The company has seen significant losses from heavily investing in Disney+. However, it has seen returns from the rapid subscriber and market share growth. At its current trajectory, Disney could dominate the $327 billion streaming industry in a few years, with a flourishing parks business to boot, making its stock a worthy long-haul investment.