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Visualizing 150 Years of S&P 500 Returns

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This visual is part of our 2024 Global Forecast Series. For full access to the series, learn more here.

 

Visualizing 150 Years of S&P 500 Returns

Visualizing 150 Years of S&P 500 Returns

2023 was supposed to be a tough year for stocks.

However, consumers shrugged off higher interest rates, and investors were more optimistic than fearful largely due to exuberance around AI. As a result, the S&P 500 rallied over 24% in 2023.

To put these gains in perspective, this graphic shows yearly returns for the S&P 500 since 1874, using data from TradingView.

S&P 500 Historical Returns (1874-2023)

Driving the S&P 500’s returns in 2023 was the force of the “Magnificent Seven”.

These mega caps include Amazon, Apple, Nvidia, Tesla, Microsoft, Meta, and Alphabet. Together, they generated the lion’s share of the index’s returns.

By contrast, a record 72% of stocks underperformed the S&P 500 index. Overall, 2023’s stock market returns were not only rare, but comparatively quite strong, as shown in the table below:

S&P 500 Annual ReturnNumber of YearsShare of Years
+40 to +50% or more32.0%
+30 to +40%95.4%
+20 to +30%2114.1%
+10 to +20%3322.1%
+0 to +10%3020.1%
+0 to -10%2516.8%
-10 to -20%1812.1%
-20 to -30%74.7%
-30 to -40%32.0%
-40 to -50% or more10.7%

Like a bell curve, the majority of returns fall near the middle, with the highest number of returns in the 10% to 20% range.

This visual is from our forthcoming 2024 Global Forecast Series Report:
Global Forecast Series 2024
 

You can reserve full access to the forthcoming series, which compiles insights from 500+ expert predictions for what will happen in 2024, by becoming a VC+ member today.

The best year was in 1933, when the market soared almost 54% during the Great Depression.

After at least 1,000 banks failed, the U.S. government set up a temporary insurance policy that would soon become the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). This restored confidence and drove money back into banks, increasing the money supply and supporting more production and spending.

The market faced its worst year just two years earlier, plummeting 43% amid the collapse of the U.S. banking system. The last time stocks tumbled nearly that far was in 2008.

Forecasting S&P 500 Returns for 2024

Looking back at 2023, we can see that Wall Street’s consensus was far off the mark.

“I’ve never seen the consensus as wrong as it was in 2023.”

-Andrew Pease, Chief Investment Strategist at Russell Investments

While many firms were cautious with their forecasts going into 2023, Goldman Sachs was one of the few to say the economy would avoid a recession.

Among the main reasons behind this forecast was that real disposable personal income was rebounding and U.S. GDP looked resilient in late 2022. These factors, among others, were seen to be more powerful drivers than tighter financial conditions.

This year, Goldman Sachs estimates that the S&P 500 will see more moderate returns, rising 7%. Overall, analysts forecast that the index will return 5-10%, presenting another cautiously optimistic outlook for 2024.

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Retail

The World’s Top Retail Companies, by Domestic Revenue

As price pressures and e-commerce reshape shopping behaviors, we show the top retail companies by domestic revenue around the world.

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This circle graphic shows the world's top retail companies by domestic revenue.

The World’s Top Retail Companies, by Domestic Revenue

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

The retail sector plays a vital role in powering economies, contributing $5.3 trillion annually to America’s GDP alone.

Moreover, the industry is America’s biggest private-sector employer, responsible for one of every four jobs, or 55 million employees. Yet in today’s challenging consumer environment, retailers are facing higher e-commerce penetration and inflationary pressures—across an industry notoriously known for razor-thin margins.

This graphic shows the world’s top retail companies by domestic revenue, based on data from the National Retail Federation.

Methodology

To be included in the rankings, companies must engage in a goods-for-consumer resale business accessible to the public and have direct selling operations in a minimum of three countries.

The rankings include both publicly and private companies, and are based on the most recent 52-week period analyzed by the National Retail Federation between January and March 2024. All revenue figures were converted to U.S. dollars.

Ranked: The Top 10 Global Retailers by Domestic Sales

Here are the leading retailers worldwide based on domestic sales as of 2023:

RankingRetailerDomestic Retail Revenue
(USD)
Share of Total Retail RevenueHeadquarters
1Walmart$532.3B85%🇺🇸 U.S.
2Amazon.com$250.0B70%🇺🇸 U.S.
3Costco$175.4B75%🇺🇸 U.S.
4The Home Depot$142.0B94%🇺🇸 U.S.
5Walgreens Boots Alliance$105.1B89%🇺🇸 U.S.
6Alibaba$91.5B97%🇨🇳 China
7Apple$70.9B87%🇺🇸 U.S.
8Aeon$64.3B93%🇯🇵 Japan
9Schwarz Group$56.5B32%🇩🇪 Germany
10Rewe$55.5B75%🇩🇪 Germany

Walmart towers ahead as the world’s largest retailer with $532 billion in domestic revenue—more than Amazon.com and Costco combined.

Known for its everyday low prices, Walmart achieves a competitive advantage through pricing goods approximately 25% cheaper than traditional retail competitors. Overall, groceries make up more than half of total sales. While its main customer base is often low and middle-income shoppers, the retail giant is seeing a surge in sales from higher-income customers as shoppers seek out lower grocery prices.

E-commerce giant, Amazon, is the second-biggest retailer globally, commanding nearly 40% of online retail sales in America. Since 2019, the number of Amazon employees has grown from 800,000 to over 1.5 million in 2023.

While the company has tried to introduce online grocery platforms to the market, it has largely fallen flat given its clunky system in a highly competitive market.

Like Amazon, China’s e-commerce juggernaut, Alibaba, stands as a leading global retailer. Overall, 97% of revenues were generated domestically through online marketplaces Taobao and Tmall. In recent years, the company has focused on international expansion, delivering products to 11 markets including America, in just five days.

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