Market Leaders, Category Revolutionaries

by: Rick Shea

The market has rebounded with some strong gains being led by those companies that have revolutionized their respective product categories. These top performing companies have used technology and innovation to reinvent their respective industries. By building a better mousetrap they have taken market share, brought in new users and driven their own earnings growth. In the past they might have been called "Category Killers" but in reality they have really reinvented their categories through innovation. Strong category growth and strong market share gains with scale are the key variables that we use to highlight our "Category Revolutionaries."

1) Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). No surprise here. They have transformed the smart phone market and reinvented themselves as the premier electronic device maker. Market share gains are just beginning and the smart phone market will continue to achieve double digit category growth for the next few years. Every portfolio should have at least one apple a day to keep the Dr. away.

2) Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN). They have pulled away to lead the internet travel industry. Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) and CTRIP (NASDAQ:CTRP) provide strong competition but Priceline continues to innovate and take market share from the traditional travel industry. William Shatner (Captain Kirk) is a gas as spokesperson and provides them with a key advantage vs. rivals.

3) Cree (NASDAQ:CREE). The leader in the LED lighting market continues to use its superior technology to drive efficiency and growth in the lighting market. The LED lighting market continues to grow exponentially and Cree's biggest challenge is to keep up with demand.(I also like Cree suppliers like VECO)

4) Sandisk (SNDK). They are a direct beneficiary of the demand created by Apple's iPhone, iPad and other electronic devices. Dram prices are volatile but for the next year strong demand should continue to drive improved pricing and Sandisk is the clear leader in memory supply.

5) Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). Netflix continues to reinvent the video rental business, first with direct mail delivery and now with internet download of content. They have put to waste Blockbuster (BBI) and now are really only challenged by Redbox owned by Coinstar (NASDAQ:CSTR). Content and convenience are king in the video delivery segment and Netflix currently has the upper hand.

6) Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU). With apologies to Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Baidu is the clear leader in the fastest area of growth for the search engine market . The Chinese market will continue to explode and search will lead all advertising growth. Google's nobility is applauded for taking a stance on censorship but the end market result is strong sales and profit for Baidu.

7) Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). Like Apple, Amazon is a no brainer for this list because of their industry dominance in the e-retailing category. Apple's iPad will not eliminate the Kindle but it will certainly take market share. Despite this Amazon will continue to grow as internet shopping outpaces traditional retail.