Infographic: How Powerful is Your Passport in a Post-Pandemic World?
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How Powerful is Your Passport in a Post-Pandemic World?

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World's most powerful passports

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How Powerful is Your Passport in a Post-Pandemic World?

With COVID-19 cases falling in many parts of the world and vaccination programs ramping up at warp speed, international travel no longer seems like a distant dream.

The Henley Passport Index, which has been regularly monitoring the world’s most travel-friendly passports since 2006, has released its latest rankings and analysis.

The most recent data provides insight into what travel freedom will look like in a post-pandemic world as countries selectively begin to open their borders to international visitors.

Prominent Countries Still Holding Strong

The rankings are based on the visa-free score of a particular country. A visa-free score refers to the number of countries that a passport holder can visit without a visa, with a visa on arrival, or by obtaining an electronic travel authorization (ETA).

Without considering the constantly changing COVID-19 restrictions, Japan firmly holds its position as the country with the strongest passport for the 4th year in a row.

This positioning is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA)—with Japanese passport holders theoretically able to access a record 193 destinations from around the world visa-free.

The last time Japan didn’t hold the number one position was back in 2017, when it shared the 5th spot with countries like the United States, New Zealand, and Switzerland.

Rank (2021)CountryVisa-Free Score (2021)Rank (2011)Visa-Free Score (2011)
1🇯🇵 Japan1934170
2🇸🇬 Singapore1929164
3🇩🇪 Germany1912172
3🇰🇷 South Korea19110163
4🇫🇮 Finland1901173
4🇮🇹 Italy1903171
4🇱🇺 Luxembourg1903171
4🇪🇸 Spain1904170
5🇦🇹 Austria1896168
5🇩🇰 Denmark1891173

Singapore remains in 2nd place, with a visa-free score of 192, while Germany and South Korea again share joint-3rd place, each with access to 191 destinations.

Throughout the 16-year history of the Henley Index, EU countries have maintained a dominant position in the passport strength reports. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain all hold the 4th position while Austria and Denmark round up the top 5 with a visa-free score of 189.

CountryRank (2011)Rank (2021)Difference
🇺🇸 United States57-2
🇨🇦 Canada990
🇲🇽 Mexico29236
🇬🇧 United Kingdom37-4
🇧🇷 Brazil25178

The United States and the United Kingdom jointly share the 7th position with a visa-free score of 187 destinations. Canada, Mexico and Brazil hold the 9th, 23rd and 17th positions respectively, with Brazil experiencing a significant jump of eight places over the last 10 years.

Editor’s note: Visit the Henley Passport Index site for a full list and ranking of all countries around the world.

The Countries With The Least Travel Freedom

Afghanistan continues to be the country with the least amount of travel freedom, coming in last place (110th rank) with a visa-free score of 26 destinations. Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Yemen have access to slightly more visa-free travel, but still linger at the bottom of the overall ranking.

Rank (2021)CountryVisa-Free Score (2021)Rank (2011)Visa-Free Score (2011)
110🇦🇫 Afghanistan2610124
109🇮🇶 Iraq2810028
108🇸🇾 Syria299337
107🇵🇰 Pakistan329931
106🇾🇪 Yemen339139

The latest report indicates that the gap in travel freedom is now at its largest since the index began in 2006. Japanese passport holders can access 167 more destinations than citizens of Afghanistan, who can visit only 26.

The Biggest Gainers In a Decade

Over time, small annual moves in the Henley Passport Index can make a big impact—and in the last decade, countries like China and the UAE have been the biggest movers:

China has risen by 22 places in the ranking since 2011 by going from a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 40 destinations to now 77.

The most remarkable turnaround story on the index by far, however, is the UAE. In 2011, the UAE was ranked 65th with a visa-free score of 67 destinations. Today, thanks to the Emirates’ ongoing efforts to strengthen diplomatic ties with countries across the globe, it is now ranked 15th with a remarkable visa-free score of 174 destinations.

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Technology

iPhone Now Makes Up the Majority of U.S. Smartphones

Apple’s flagship device has captured a modest 16% of the global market, and Android dominates globally. Why do so many Americans keep buying iPhones?

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iPhone Now Makes Up the Majority of U.S. Smartphones

One of the most iconic tech moments of the 21st century is Steve Jobs, in his signature black turtleneck, holding up a small device: the iPhone. Since that introduction at the 2007 Macworld conference in San Francisco, iPhone has gone on to become a global phenomenon, with over 1.2 billion units now sold around the world.

Today, the smartphone market is a fiercely competitive space.

On a global scale, iPhone has carved out a respectable 16% of the smartphone market. In the U.S., however, the iPhone has managed to win the hearts and minds of more consumers. New data from Counterpoint Research via FT notes that iPhones now make up 50% of the overall installed user base* in the United States.

With a plethora of smartphone brands available to American consumers—and many at lower price points—what is it that makes this brand so popular?

ℹ️ “Installed user base” is a particularly interesting statistic because it doesn’t just track devices that are sold over a given period, it looks at all the devices that are still in use.

 

iPhone: The Apple of America’s Eye

Experts point to a number of reasons why Apple’s flagship device outperforms in the U.S. compared to other markets.

  • Apple has the highest brand loyalty of any major smartphone maker. 9 in 10 U.S. iPhone users plan to purchase an iPhone as their next device.
  • iPhones appear to depreciate at a slower rate than other devices
  • Broadly speaking, consumers in the U.S. have less price sensitivity than consumers in many other countries.
  • Apple has been vocal in their messaging about protecting user privacy and data, and that message appears to be resonating with consumers.

This last point is worth digging into in more detail.

Winning the Privacy War

Personal data protection and cybersecurity have become mainstream concerns in recent years, and Apple has made security a priority.

Of course, security breaches can and do occur, regardless of what device is being used. That said, a recent survey by Beyond Identity indicates that iPhone users were less likely to be victims of security breaches, and were more likely to recover data in the event of a breach.

Infographic showing survey data on security breaches and severity

The survey also points out that iPhone users were less likely to have sensitive data, such as images and videos, credit card information, passwords, and personal data compromised when breaches occurred.

These findings aside, Apple has also been bullish on branding its devices as safe and secure. The “Privacy. That’s iPhone.” campaign launched in 2019, and most recently, Apple has put the data broker industry in its crosshairs through a new series of ad spots.

Simply put: whether or not iPhone is more secure than other devices, Apple has used its marketing muscle to sway public opinion at a time when Americans are focused on privacy. And based on these latest installed user base numbers, that strategy appears to be paying off.

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Misc

The Most Searched Consumer Brands in 2022

From Netflix to IKEA, this map of the world highlights the most searched for consumer brands around the world.

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The Most Searched Consumer Brands in 2022

View the high resolution of this infographic by clicking here.

In today’s fast-paced world, a strong brand is a powerful asset that helps a business stand out in a sea of competition.

What are some of the most popular brands around the world? One way to gauge this is by looking at Google searches to see what consumers are searching for online (and therefore, what brands they’re paying the most attention to).

This graphic by BusinessFinancing.co.uk uses data from Google Keyword Planner to show the world’s most searched consumer brands in the twelve months leading up to March 2022.

Methodology

To source this wide of a dataset, the team at BusinessFinancing.co.uk first compiled a list of well-known brands, using a number of reputable sources including Forbes, the Financial Times, BrandDirectory, and more.

From there, the team created a shortlist of popular consumer brands. This year, they focused on businesses that sell products and services, so some of the big tech companies like Google and Meta were excluded from the 2022 ranking.

Next, the team used Google Ads API to extract search volume data for the shortlisted brands. They looked at a couple of things:

  • The monthly average of searches over the last 12 months for the brand name alone (e.g. “Nike”)
  • Brand name with the corresponding sector added to the keyword (“Nike clothing”), which helped offset the skew in search volume for generic terms like “Apple” or “Amazon”

They did this for every country in the world with data available. Here’s what they found.

The Top 5 Most Searched Brands

While Netflix is the most frequently searched brand in the highest number of countries (92), Amazon takes the top spot when it comes to total search volume.

Here’s a look at the top five most search brands by average global monthly searches:

BrandAverage global monthly searches (March 2022)# Countries Most-Searched In
Amazon335,400,00042
Netflix140,200,00092
eBay80,600,0006
Walmart76,100,0002
IKEA55,300,00014

But a brand’s search popularity doesn’t necessarily reflect that the business is thriving. For instance, in April 2022, Netflix announced it had lost around 200,000 subscribers throughout Q1.

The week of the announcement, Netflix’s stock price dipped below $200—the lowest it had been since 2017.

Smartphones

Apple and its iPhone take the top spot when it comes to smartphone searches, which may be unsurprisingly considering the top five best-selling smartphones in 2021 were all iPhones.

Most Searched Smartphones 2022
View the high resolution of this infographic by clicking here.

It’s worth noting that the top five best-selling smartphones only capture a fraction of the overall smartphone market, and while iPhones are undeniably popular, they only make up 16.7% of worldwide smartphone sales.

Gaming

Epic Games, the creator and platform of Fortnite, maintains its status as the most searched-for gaming brand worldwide, with an average of 14.9 million global monthly searches.

Most Searched Gaming Brands 2022
View the high resolution of this infographic by clicking here.

No other gaming company came close to Epic Game’s search volume. For instance, Nintendo, which came in second place, only averaged 3.2 million searches a month.

However, Nintendo still managed to generate more than $16 billion in revenue throughout 2021, triple the gross revenue that Epic Games made the same year.

Fast Food

KFC was the most searched fast-food company in more than 83 countries, making it the most popular worldwide.

most popular brands by search volume fast food
View the high resolution of this infographic by clicking here.

However, it’s worth noting that, while McDonald’s ranked first in fewer countries, it had a higher global monthly search average than its fried chicken competitor.

In 2021, KFC generated approximately $2.79 billion in global revenue, while McDonald’s brought in $23.2 billion.

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