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Ranked: Which Asset Class Logged the Biggest Return in 2023?

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See this visualization first on the Voronoi app.

A chart tracking the yearly performance of every major asset class: equities, real estate, commodities, bonds, and emerging markets.

Which Asset Class Logged the Biggest Return in 2023?

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.

How did the markets do in 2023?

We visualize the one-year performance of major asset classes by tracking their relevant indexes across the globe. Data for this chart comes from S&P Global and Investing.com.

Major Asset Class Returns in 2023

Japanese equities, represented in this graphic by the Nikkei 225, were one of the strongest performers, up 30% by the end of 2023.

In May of 2023, the Nikkei hit a 30-year high, led by better corporate financial performances, a weak yen (drawing in overseas investors), and a flurry of stock buybacks.

Japan has also benefited from China’s economic woes, triggered by a spreading slowdown in the real estate sector that has had a domino effect on the rest of the $19 trillion economy. Investors looking for options outside of China didn’t have to look too far to find Japanese equities.

However the rally in the Nikkei is facing some recent hurdles: a strengthening yen since November, weak consumer demand, and the likelihood of looming international interest rate cuts will likely shift money away to other equity markets.

Here’s the list of how other major asset classes performed in the year.

RankIndexReturnAsset Class
1Nikkei 225+30.1%Japanese Equities
2S&P 500+24.2%U.S. Large Caps
3STOXX 50+17.3%European Equities
4S&P SmallCap 600+13.9%U.S. Small Caps
5Gold+13.1%Gold
6S&P/TSX
Composite
+8.1%Canadian Equities
7Dow Jones Real
Estate Index
+7.8%U.S. Real Estate
8MSCI EEM+7.1%Emerging Market Equities
9S&P U.S.
Aggregate Bond
+5.8%U.S. Bonds
10WTI Oil-11.5%Crude Oil
11S&P GSCI-12.2%Commodities
12S&P China 500-12.5%Chinese Equities

Note: Data as of December 29, 2023.

U.S. equities, real estate, and bonds all did well, as did Canadian, European, and emerging market equities.

Gold stayed high, a popular inflation-hedge, also spurred on by rising geopolitical concerns.

Oil, commodities, and Chinese equities all registered negative returns for the year—all inextricably linked together by the earlier mentioned slowing Chinese economy.

However, don’t be surprised if Houthi attacks in the Red Sea (prompted by the Israel-Hamas war) and other geopolitical stimuli reinvigorate oil prices as we continue our journey into 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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