It's easy to dive into a growth stock knowing you can quickly bail out if things don't initially pan out. The thinking changes, however, when you're a long-termer looking for a stock to hold for years. These types of investments must be in companies with proven staying power, or the ability to adapt, or (ideally) both.

With that as the backdrop, here's a closer look at two growth stocks you can comfortably buy and hold for at least the next decade. Both operate in businesses the world can't live without, and both are in markets composed of customers willing and able to perpetually pay for updated products.


You know the company. Microsoft (MSFT 0.43%) is of course the name behind the world's most prolific computer operating system; GlobalStats reports Windows is installed on more than 70% of the planet's PCs. Microsoft also offers a popular suite of productivity programs collectively called "Office," which account for roughly half of this market. And let's not forget that the Xbox video is gaming console, also this outfit's intellectual property.

These are all very well-established profit centers. More importantly, though, these are all products that are perpetually ripe for constant refreshment on behalf of consumers and of the reasons the company's revenue has grown every quarter since late 2017 and rarely slipped prior to that.

It's the Microsoft you don't quite know, however, making its stock a great long-term pick rather than merely a good one.

If you're a regular user of the internet, odds are you've (unknowingly) been served by the company's cloud computing platform known as Azure. Research outfit Canalys estimates Azure accounts for nearly one-fourth of the world's cloud-infrastructure market, with Microsoft growing this business' revenue by 31% year over year during the fourth quarter of last year. It's also parent to professional networking platform LinkedIn, sells a small number of high-end, high-performance laptops, manages the search engine you know as Bing, and is wading ever-deeper into artificial intelligence waters.

And it's the last item on thus list -- artificial intelligence -- that could make Microsoft shares downright explosive during the next 10 years.

Have you heard of ChatGPT? It would be surprising if you hadn't given the buzz it's created since its launch in November 2022. But, on the off chance you're not familiar, ChatGPT is an AI-powered online chat tool that can not only answer nearly any question you can think of, but can do so in a surprisingly conversational way. It's even able to write short stories, essays, and articles that sound completely coherent.

Microsoft didn't invent it. A company called OpenAI did that. Microsoft made a $10 billion investment in OpenAI earlier this year, however, underscoring its growing interest in the artificial intelligence market while presumably gaining more direct access to the tech itself. While the potential uses of ChatGPT have only begun being explored, there's no denying the tool is functional at a level that just a few years ago would have seemed like science fiction.

It matters to current and would-be Microsoft shareholders because the AI market is still in its infancy. Mordor Intelligence believes the artificial intelligence industry will grow at an annual pace in excess of 30% through 2028, which is in line with other outlooks. Between its piece of OpenAI and its previous artificial intelligence efforts, Microsoft is well positioned for whatever the future of AI ends up looking like.

Applied Materials

The other growth stock to buy now and hold for the next 10 years? Not surprisingly, it's another tech name. It's not a software stock, however. Applied Materials (AMAT -1.71%) is a hardware company.

You won't see any of its wares at your local computer store. That's because its hardware is meant for manufacturers of computer chips, display screens, and solar panels. In the company's own words, it's the world's "leader in materials engineering solutions."

The thing is, it's not a claim that's tough to believe. Its Centura Sculpta patterning system unveiled late last month allows chipmakers (in laymen's terms) to change the shape of a microchip after it's been made. The tech ultimately allows chipmakers to manufacture wafers in a cost-effective way and then reform them -- including shrinking them -- into the required shape and size for a particular application. Applied Materials estimates the Centura Sculpta system can save manufacturers on the order of $50 per wafer.

In a similar vein, also late last month Applied Materials unveiled its new VeritySEM 10 system that measures the dimensions of semiconductors made using EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography. It matters because the size variation tolerances on modern computer chips are practically nonexistent. The VeritySEM 10 system's resolution is twice that of the commonly used CD-SEM (critical dimension scanning electron microscope) measurement approach, and 30% faster.

Don't understand the science? That's ok. You don't have to. You only have to understand that as long as the world clamors for better, faster, more efficient computing, Applied Materials will have a market of willing buyers to sell its equipment to.

Do know that 2023 and 2024 are likely to be subpar ones for the company, with revenue and earnings expected to fall just a bit back-to-back. Don't sweat it too much, though. Part of that expectation stems from the economic headwinds currently blowing, while another part of it is the lingering impact of the chip sector's supply chain breakdown at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. A bunch of semiconductor manufacturers are moving production operations in-house as well and building new factories in their home countries to do so. Many of them may be waiting until construction of new facilities is complete before accepting deliveries of new manufacturing tech.

All of these headwinds are temporary, however, with most of them already being priced into Applied Materials' shares last year. Indeed, the Semiconductor Industry Association estimates the world's chip manufacturing capacity is on pace to grow 56% between 2020 and 2030. Applied Materials is positioned to capture more than its fair share of that growth.

The kicker: This $100 billion company just announced a new $10 billion stock buyback plan.