Looking back on the past decade, the 2010s have been a spectacular decade for stocks overall. But, of more importance, the 2010s were an even more spectacular decade for tech stocks.
The internet went global. Everyone got a smartphone. And a smartwatch. And a smart tablet, smart car and smart appliances, too.
E-commerce became a thing. So did streaming services. Digital advertising took over the ad world. Cloud took over the enterprise world. Artificial intelligence, automation and self-driving all became realities.
Because of all this growth, the technology sector became an increasingly important part of the global economy. And as it did, tech stocks roared higher. The Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight Tech ETF (NYSEARCA:RYT) rose 322% during the decade — a 135 point outperformance of the broader market.
Will this big growth for tech stocks continue next decade?
Yes, without a doubt.
Throughout the 2020s, all of the preceding decade’s most important technology trends will persist. There will also be some new technology trends which will only add more firepower to the tech sector’s growth narrative.
Above all, tech stocks will stay on a winning trajectory in the 2020s. But which ones look best in this rising tide? Let’s take a look at a few of my favorite tech stocks to buy for the next 10 years.
Best Tech Stocks to Buy: Splunk (SPLK)
One of the best tech stocks to buy for the next decade is enterprise software company Splunk (NASDAQ:SPLK).
Overall, the rationale for buying SPLK stock is surprisingly simple. Data is the future of everything. Splunk is where data goes to become useful. Thus, as businesses increasingly pivot towards data-driven decision making, they will increasingly turn towards Splunk to help them make use of their data.
This is already happening today, and it will happen in greater frequency over the next decade. As it does, Splunk’s revenues, profits and stock price will all march higher.
Breaking this thesis down further, Splunk operates what management calls a “Data-to-Everything” platform. That approach does exactly what the name describes. It helps businesses turn their machine data (like transaction data or web traffic data) into useful insights of all sorts.
This includes insights for better product creation (according to the data, your customers like red shoes more than blue shoes), better marketing (according to the data, your customers resonated more with the beach ad than they did with the mountain ad) and so on and so forth.
This is called data-driven decision making, and it is the future of business, because it turns decision-making into a science. Splunk is turning into the backbone of this data-driven enterprise decision making market. In theory, almost every business has a need for Splunk’s tools; Yet, very few do.
This disconnect implies a huge growth opportunity for Splunk over the next decade as data becomes the center of the business world.
The 2020s bull thesis for streaming device maker Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU) is pretty straightforward. Everyone talked about cord-cutting in the 2010s; But, not many people actually did it.
Most U.S. households still pay for cable TV, packaging their cable TV packages with some streaming services because there is a lack of content supply in the streaming world.
That will change in the 2020s. Everyone from Disney (NYSE:DIS) to AT&T (NYSE:T) is launching a streaming service. And come 2025, there will be enough content supply in the streaming TV world to get consumers to actually cut the cord.
As the majority of consumers make the full transition from linear to streaming TV in the 2020s, they will increasingly need a centralized, streamlined platform to access all their streaming TV services; Like a cable box for the streaming TV world.
Roku is that.
Because Roku has big incumbency in this market, consumer desire for consistency and content provider desire for optimal reach should work together to keep Roku the big dog in this space for a lot longer.
With that, then, Roku will adds tons of users over the next several years as consumers pivot into the streaming TV channel. Linear TV ad dollars will follow those consumers into the streaming channel. As a result, some of those ad dollars will wind up in the Roku ecosystem. Ultimately, then, big user growth will be accompanied by big revenue growth, and big profit growth, because ad revenues are high-margin.
Big profit growth will power ROKU stock materially higher throughout the 2020s.
The biggest tech stock on this list — Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) — looks exceptionally strong heading into the 2020s for four big reasons.
First, over the next decade, Facebook will leverage digital ad real estate expansion to sustain huge growth in its core digital ad business. That is, Facebook owns four digital platforms with one billion or more users — and two of them, Facebook and Instagram, are loaded with ads. The other two, WhatsApp and Messenger, aren’t.
In the 2020s, Facebook will inevitably roll out ads across those other two platforms. Due to this, the company’s dominance in the secular growth digital ad market will grow, and Facebook will sustain huge digital ad growth rates.
Second, Facebook’s huge push into e-commerce will yield huge returns. Facebook just started down the e-commerce path recently, with the launch of Instagram Shopping and Facebook Pay. In the 2020s, Facebook will more aggressively turn these budding growth initiatives, into huge, revenue-generating verticals.
Why will they be successful in doing this? Because Facebook’s platforms are a already a place where consumers are constantly sharing products and services with their social networks. Layering “Buy Now” functionality on top of that dynamic seems natural, seamless and destined for sizable uptake.
Third, Facebook’s margins will meaningfully improve next decade. This used to be a 50% operating margin company. Then, Cambridge Analytica hit. Facebook had to up data-security investments. Profit margins got killed. This dynamic is temporary. In the 2020s, revenue growth rates will remain big. Expense growth rates will not. And margins will roar higher, adding another tailwind to profit growth.
Fourth, Facebook stock isn’t priced for the big profit growth that will happen in the 2020s. Shares trade at just 22 times forward earnings, for what will be 20%-plus profit growth for the first several years of next decade. That’s just too little of a multiple, for too big of profit growth.
The Trade Desk (TTD)
Programmatic advertising platform The Trade Desk (NASDAQ:TTD) looks really good going into next decade because of three big trends.
The first is the most obvious — the continued rise of digital advertising. Long story short, consumer engagement is only becoming more digital. Ad dollars follow engagement, so over the next decade, more and more ad dollars will make their way into the digital channel.
With that, ad spend through The Trade Desk will rise because this is a demand-side platform (DSP) for digital ad buyers.
Second, automation will go mainstream in the 2020s.
Over the last few years of the 2010s, the world started to see what automation actually was — self check-out kiosks, self-driving, etc. But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In the 2020s, automation tech will get better and become more integrated in the global economy.
This includes programmatic advertising, which is the automation of the digital ad transaction process. The top dog in the programmatic advertising space? The Trade Desk, meaning that as the automation wave gains traction next decade, ad spend through The Trade Desk will rise.
Third, the digital ad world is becoming decentralized. That is, the global digital ad industry has historically been a duopoly controlled by Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Facebook, and those two ad giants ran their ad businesses like a walled garden, sealing off all DSPs.
But, the rise of digital advertising on platforms like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Snapchat (NYSE:SNAP), Pinterest (NYSE:PINS), Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and others has eroded this digital ad duopoly. Simultaneously, there has been tremendous regulatory pressure on big tech to open up their walled gardens. One way they can do that? Let in DSPs to make the digital ad transaction process fairer. This opening up of the big-tech-walled garden should enable The Trade Desk to become a far more important player in the digital ad space.
Comprehensively, a continued surge in digital ad spend, a rise in programmatic advertising and a shift towards open-internet policies will all help TTD stock be a winner next decade.
Last but not least on this list of the best tech stocks to buy for the next decade is e-commerce solutions provider Shopify (NYSE:SHOP).
There are two big trends powering the Shopify growth narrative, and both will persist into next decade. The first is a secular pivot towards e-commerce.
For Shopify, the important implication of this pivot is that the internet is the new mall. Ten years ago, a retailer needed a storefront in a mall in order to gain brand awareness, drive sales and survive. Today, that storefront is digital — in the form of a website.
However, creating a website can be a tough and daunting challenge, especially as the e-commerce world becomes more and more competitive. Thus, retailers are increasingly turning towards pros to optimize their websites.
Shopify is the best in the game at doing this. And, as e-commerce becomes a bigger piece of the retail pie, Shopify’s reach and relevance across the retail world will grow.
The second big trend here is that the retail world is becoming increasingly decentralized, as the internet has democratized the retail world.
Before, the biggest stores won all the sales, because time-constrained shoppers only had enough time to visit a few places. Today, shoppers have nearly unlimited time, since popping between websites takes a second, and so they are increasingly shopping across a wider variety of stores.
This decentralization implies big growth potential for Shopify. The likes of Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT) have the resources to run their own digital operations, while small-to-medium sized merchants don’t.
Those smaller guys are the ones turning towards Shopify, and the more they gain momentum, the more sales will happen through Shopify websites.
Big picture — the future of the retail world is direct and decentralized, and Shopify is the backbone of that retail model. As this pivots towards direct, decentralized retail plays out in the 2020s, SHOP stock will roar higher.