Consistency is key in investing, and it's also a key factor in the stocks you pick for dividend income. Without a regular drumbeat of profits, investors may eventually need to kiss their quarterly payouts goodbye -- and they can forget about those dividend increases, too.

So let's look at two high-quality dividend stocks that have the financial sturdiness and stellar business models necessary to disburse a dividend quarter after quarter. 

Two investors sit on a balcony as they look at a laptop and several papers.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. CVS

With a forward dividend yield of just over 3%, pharmacy chain and insurer CVS Health (CVS -0.57%) deserves a place on a list of stocks for dividend-seeking investors. Many of its characteristics are actually quite amenable for that purpose. Indeed, 85% of people in the U.S. live within 10 miles of one of its stores, guaranteeing it access to a gargantuan number of potential customers. Its prescription medicines, healthcare products, and health insurance (offered through Aetna) are necessities for millions of lives.

While there are competitors that offer an alternative place to get those products, the convenient locations of CVS stores and its customer discount program serve to lock in quite a bit of business to generate recurring revenue very reliably over time. 

Even with the advent of telehealth, there's little indication that people will stop showing up to get the products they need. And with a low-end estimate for its sales clocking in at $333 billion for 2023, plus an anticipated minimum adjusted operating net income of $17.3 billion, there's clearly some traction for its business. So, it isn't too surprising that since March 2013, CVS' dividends per share grew by 13.7% annually on average.

Moving forward, its expansion into providing some primary care-like services on-site at its stores should help drive growth, not to mention its planned expansion into telehealth. Given the company's payout ratio of 70%, there looks to be room enough for the dividend to keep growing in the meantime.

And as long as people need to keep coming back to pick up their prescriptions, CVS will keep gaining in value and paying out dividends over time. Just keep your expectations in check; it probably won't be outperforming the market anytime soon, and holding the stock for its dividend income means playing the long game, just like the company itself does.

2. Costco

Costco Wholesale (COST -0.15%) also sells consumer staples (among many other things) at its warehouses, and requires customers to pay a membership fee to access them. The fact that its profit margin is a scant 2.5% doesn't matter, because with trailing-12-month revenue of $234.3 billion, there's still billions in net income left to distribute to shareholders -- $1.4 billion in Q1 of 2023, to be precise.

Whereas it's the critical products that keep people going back to CVS, with Costco it's the rock-bottom prices, which are a point of pride for its management. Even as inflation drove consumer prices upwards in 2022, Costco kept many of its prices static, ensuring that it didn't lose market share to competitors.

Plus, as long as its members keep paying their memberships every year -- and 92.6% of them do -- its net income will remain relatively secure. In fact, these fees were responsible for $4.3 billion in revenue over the last 12 months that cost practically nothing to generate.

Being able to maintain the growth of its top and bottom lines in any economic environment is how Costco can afford to keep hiking its dividend, even though its forward yield of 0.7% is minuscule. Over the last 10 years, the company's payout rose by 190%, punctuated by three special dividends when management decided to share its extra cash with shareholders.

And since its payout ratio is a diminutive 26%, there's an incredibly long runway for Costco to keep increasing the dividend.