Every now and then a company comes along that not only shakes up their respective sector, but has a global impact strong enough that it literally changes the world we live in.
Life can be altered in a variety of ways. In the modern world, technology has the greatest chance of impacting and shaping our daily lives since it has evolved to a point where it is involved with nearly every aspect of our lives.
Technology has become such a huge part of our lives, that it is not surprising our list of five companies that reshaped our lives is primarily technology stocks. Fifty years ago the list would have been very different, and only time will tell which companies will be defining life 50 years from now.
It is very rare for a company to change the world, it is even rarer for a company to continue changing the world. The five companies we are going to look today have undeniably changed the world and continue to dominate in their respective sectors.
Fast food leader McDonald’s (MCD) may not be a company that quickly comes to mind when you think of which companies changed the world, but it certainly did. Before McDonald’s, the concept of fast food was very different. People would go to drive ins or cafes where the food was anything but fast. McDonald’s perfected the fast food experience, which has had a major impact on consumers ever since. Management continues to think outside the box, and in recent years began offering customers all-day breakfast which successfully boosted store traffic and lifted U.S. sales. Analysts see the company growing earnings by 8.5% pr annum over the next five years. We take for granted the ability to quickly order a meal on the go, but we must give McDonald’s the credit for ushering in the idea which has been copied many times over. MCD trades at $165.08 with an average price target of $184.83.
Few companies have altered the world to the extent Facebook (FB) has over the last decade. Facebook was certainly not the first social media site, but it quickly became the most popular and totally altered the way people communicated and stayed in touch with friends and relatives. Facebook has become so popular that as of the end of the second quarter it boasted 2.23 billion monthly active users. To put that into perspective, the world’s population is around 7.4 billion, which means that around 30% of the world’s population logs into Facebook at least once a month. Facebook allows people to stay in touch and follow friends and family around the world, as well as an ability to keep up with local and world news. Facebook has recently come under fire over its failure to completely erase fake news from its platform, but it is taking steps which should help boost the sites credibility moving forward. The stock trades at $163.35 with an average price target of $210.53. FB is expected to grow earnings by 22% per annum over the next five years.
Amazon.com (AMZN) completely altered the retail world. E-commerce has become a huge part of our daily lives, and the competition it poses to traditional brick and mortar retailers has been too much for some iconic retailers to combat. Even brick-and-mortar retailers that have survived have been forced to invest heavily into their own online businesses to remain relevant. E-commerce allows consumers to shop for the lowest prices on goods and services, and as company’s like Amazon move to shorten delivery times the pressure will be even greater on brick and mortar retailers to incentivize in-store shopping for consumers who may otherwise showroom products in their stores only to purchase the exact same product online for a lower price and have it arrive 2 days later. Amazon reshaped retail forever, and its Prime Video service is also playing a major role in the cord-cutting trend in the U.S. away from pay-tv providers. Analysts expect huge earnings growth for the company moving forward, and forecast 46% average annual earnings growth for the next five years. AMZN currently trades at $1,944.50 with an average price target of $2,108.06.
Apple (AAPL) fans will argue that the company has been changing the world since its beginnings, but the real world-changer happened in 2007 when the company launched the first iPhone. Having a small computer in our pockets is something we all take for granted today, but before the iPhone, the smartphone market was very different. Blackberries and Palm Pilots were around, but they were not mainstream, and most people used their phones simply for phone calls and text messages. After the iPhone, that all changed. We use our smartphones for communicating, internet, photography, games, GPS, banking, music… the list goes on and on. Smartphones have completely changed the world and allowed us to record and consume information in real time, all the time. The iPhone is far from the only smartphone in the market, but its arrival ushered in a new era in communications that radically altered life as we know it. AAPL trades at $219.35 with an average price target of $215.05. Analysts expect average annual earnings growth of 13% for the next five years.
Like several companies in our list, Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL) was by no means the first company to offer its product, which happens to be search. Yahoo and AOL were the big names before after Google came along, the competition quickly fell as Google became the prominent search engine. Google’s algorithms perfected how to deliver the best search results and deliver the most targeted advertisers to its users. All companies understand the power a high ranking on Google can have to drive customers and sales, and a whole industry was formed to help sites SEO optimize their sites to drive traffic, and marketing departments are forced to include Google search in their campaigns. The company continues to grow, as is expected to grow earnings by 18% per annum over the next five years. GOOGL trades at $1,177.50 with an average price target of $1,370.21.