For more than a decade, growth stocks have been all the rage on Wall Street. Historically low lending rates, dovish monetary policy, and a free-spending Capitol Hill (at least during the pandemic) have allowed fast-growing companies to thrive.
Typically, it's smaller companies that generate some of the fastest sales growth, while large-cap stocks (those with market caps of at least $10 billion) grow at a more tempered pace. Larger companies are more likely to have time-tested or mature operating models, making it less common that they generate eye-popping revenue growth.
However, the following large-cap stocks didn't get that memo. Each and every one of these companies is on track to, at minimum, quintuple their sales over a four-year period, according to Wall Street's consensus revenue estimate for 2024 (or fiscal 2025). You could rightly say that these are five of the fastest-growing large-cap stocks on the planet.
Image source: Getty Images.
Sea Limited: Implied four-year sales growth of 400%
Who said companies with market caps in excess of $100 billion can't grow like their smaller competitors? According to analysts, Singapore-based Sea Limited (NYSE: SE) is expected to see its full-year sales skyrocket from $4.39 billion in 2020 to about $21.9 billion in 2024. That works out to a quintupling in full-year revenue in four years.
Sea's secret sauce (say that three times fast) is that it has three rapidly growing operating segments. For the moment, it's being anchored by its digital gaming operations. The company ended March with close to 649 million active users, 12.3% of which were paying to play. That's well above the industry average, and it's notably higher than the 8.9% of quarterly active users who were paying one year ago.
However, the superstar for this company is its e-commerce platform, Shopee. It's the top shopping app downloaded in Southeastern Asia, and it's becoming especially popular in Brazil. In the first quarter of 2021, Shopee saw $12.6 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) purchased. For some context here, Shopee did $10.3 billion in GMV in all of 2018. Both the coronavirus pandemic and the rise of the middle class throughout Southeastern Asia is driving online purchases.
Lastly, Sea has its rapidly growing digital financial services segment. More than 26 million people were paying for mobile wallet services at the end of March. Since the company targets a number of underbanked emerging markets, this digital financial services segment could be a major long-term growth driver.
Image source: Getty Images.
Plug Power: Implied four-year sales growth of 404%
Companies focused on renewable energy solutions should be among the fastest growing this decade. Over the next four years investors will struggle to find a green-energy stock expanding quicker than hydrogen fuel-cell solutions provider Plug Power (NASDAQ: PLUG). After delivering $337 million in sales in 2020, Plug has guided for $1.7 billion in full-year revenue for 2024. That's a cool 404% increase, if it comes to fruition.
For the time being, climate change is Plug Power's best friend. Joe Biden winning the presidency last year, coupled with Democrats regaining control of the Senate by the narrowest of margins, gives the current administration an opportunity to pass a clean energy bill. While it's unclear what a final infrastructure bill might look like, it's almost a certainty that clean vehicle solutions, such as those developed by Plug Power, will benefit.
Additionally, the company secured two joint ventures just days apart in January. First, SK Group took a 10% equity stake in the company, with the duo aiming to introduce hydrogen fuel-cell-powered vehicles and hydrogen refilling stations in South Korea. A few days later, Plug landed a deal with French automaker Renault that'll see the two go after Europe's light commercial vehicle market. Both joint ventures should result in Plug Power's orders catapulting higher.
Image source: Getty Images.
Snowflake: Implied four-year sales growth of 559%
The cloud computing space is home to dozens of fast-growing companies, none of which appear to be increasing its sales faster than cloud data-warehousing company Snowflake (NYSE: SNOW). In fiscal 2021, Snowflake's sales grew by 124% to $592 million. But based on Wall Street's consensus for fiscal 2025, it's on track to generate $3.9 billion in revenue. This would represent a four-year increase of 559%.
What makes Snowflake so special is the company's competitive advantages. For example, it's shunned subscriptions in favor of a pay-as-you-go operating model. Customers pay for the amount of data they store and the number of Snowflake Compute Credits used. This allows the company's clients to keep better tabs on their expenses.
Also, since Snowflake's solutions are built atop the most popular cloud infrastructure platforms, customers can share data seamlessly, even across competing services.
Though it's the fastest-growing cloud stock, Snowflake is also one of the priciest. It's currently valued at 67 times projected sales for fiscal 2022 and roughly 19 times estimated sales four years from now. But if the company makes good on its fiscal 2029 outlook of $10 billion in product sales, paying this premium may be well worth it.
The NIO EC6 EV crossover SUV. Image source: NIO.
NIO: Implied four-year sales growth of 561%
Another absolute beast of a growth trend this decade is the rise of electric vehicles (EV). Though Tesla and the U.S. EV market tend to get a lot of attention, the biggest opportunity is actually China. That's why NIO (NYSE: NIO) finds itself as one of the fastest-growing large-cap stocks on the planet. If all goes well, full-year sales can catapult from about $2.5 billion in 2020 to $16.8 billion in 2024. That's a sales increase of approximately 561%.
Despite a global chip shortage, NIO has shown Wall Street that it can effectively scale its production. After delivering 20,060 vehicles in the first quarter, the company is on pace to deliver between 21,000 and 22,000 EVs in the second quarter. Once global chip supply issues are resolved, NIO will look to boost its annual delivery capacity to around 150,000 EVs.
For NIO, innovation is extremely important. It's been introducing one new vehicle each year, with the sportier EC6 crossover SUV hitting showrooms last summer. It's quickly become a hit with EV buyers.
Additionally, NIO introduced a battery-as-a-service program. For a monthly fee, this subscription service allows buyers to replace or upgrade their vehicle's batteries. It also reduces the initial purchase price of the vehicle. Though NIO is giving up near-term margin by reducing the purchase price of its EVs, it's keeping buyers loyal and generating very high margin residual service revenue.
Image source: Getty Images.
Novavax: Implied four-year sales growth of 1,118%
The crème de la crème of fast-growing large-cap companies is biotech stock Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX). Following a pandemic-ravaged year where it brought in $476 million in sales, Wall Street is looking for Novavax to generate $5.8 billion in annual revenue in 2024. That's your run-of-the-mill sales increase of 1,118% over the coming four years.
As you may have rightly guessed, Novavax's core catalyst is a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine. The company's candidate, NVX-CoV2373 (these scientific names just roll off the tongue), demonstrated nearly 90% efficacy in a large U.K. study, and recently reported a 90.4% trial efficacy in the United States. With efficacy rates this high, Novavax could potentially displace Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine, which offered an efficacy of 72%.
Though you'd think this was a cut-and-dried success story, Novavax has delayed its emergency-use authorization filings in Europe, the U.S., and U.K. until the third quarter, and it likely won't be at full production capacity till the fourth quarter. This waiting game has caused wild vacillations in Novavax's share price of late.
Nevertheless, Novavax has a good chance of being one of the primary COVID-19 vaccines used in emerging markets, and it could become a key player if booster shots become necessary.
10 stocks we like better than NIO Inc.
When our award-winning analyst team has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*
They just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and NIO Inc. wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.
*Stock Advisor returns as of June 7, 2021
Sean Williams has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends NIO Inc., Sea Limited, Snowflake Inc., and Tesla. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.