Carsales results zoom on (ASX: CRZ) has released its interim results for 2013 with a record net profit after tax (NPAT) of $37.6 million. The profit was achieved on revenues of $102 million, which shows the fantastic profit margin enjoys. The automotive industry has been in a sweet spot the last few years, with the strong Australian dollar and competitive pricing from car companies leading to record new car sales. This helped achieve a 17% increase in revenues and a 14% increase in profits. has a very profitable business model, is well run, and is a company worth following. Also worth following is REA Group (ASX: REA), owner of the website and hotel booking service Webjet (ASX: WEB), which recently reported impressive interim results, growing both revenue and normalised NPAT. All three companies have also provided positive guidance for the full year.

With a number of other online businesses set to release their results in the coming weeks it may be worth considering how your portfolio is positioned to gain from the continual shift to the web. There are a number of ways to do this, including the telecom sector, IT services sector and software sector. However, the most direct way is via the website owners. Focusing on the leader in any sector can be a clever strategy. So whether it is New Zealand’s online classified Trade Me Group (ASX: TME), recruitment advertiser Seek (ASX: SEK), or hotel bookings portal Wotif (ASX: WTF), there are some appealing leaders in each digital space.

Foolish takeaway

The underlying theme is that the leading online businesses are doing very well even in the face of a slowing and uncertain economic environment. The share price of these stocks can sometimes look stretched compared to the valuation; however the growth inherent in these leading businesses may justify the price. Owning some of the best businesses exposed to the digital economy could be one way for us Fools to get our portfolios zooming up.

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More reading

The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better.   Click here now  for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead.  This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson. Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur doesn’t own any of the stocks mentioned.

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