Ranked: The Biggest Companies in the World in 2021
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The Biggest Companies in the World in 2021



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Biggest Companies in the World by Market Cap

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The Biggest Companies in the World

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Since the COVID-19 crash, global equity markets have seen a strong recovery. The 100 biggest companies in the world were worth a record-breaking $31.7 trillion as of March 31 2021, up 48% year-over-year. As a point of comparison, the combined GDP of the U.S. and China was $35.7 trillion in 2020.

In today’s graphic, we use PwC data to show the world’s biggest businesses by market capitalization, as well as the countries and sectors they are from.

The Top 100, Ranked

PwC ranked the largest publicly-traded companies by their market capitalization in U.S. dollars. It’s also worth noting that sector classification is based on the FTSE Russell Industry Classification Benchmark, and a company’s location is based on where its headquarters are located.

Here is the top 100 ranking of the biggest companies in the world, organized from the biggest to the smallest.

RankCompany nameLocationSectorMarket Capitalization
1APPLE INC🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$2.1T
2SAUDI ARAMCO🇸🇦 Saudi ArabiaEnergy$1.9T
3MICROSOFT CORP🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$1.8T
4AMAZON.COM INC🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$1.6T
5ALPHABET INC🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$1.4T
6FACEBOOK INC🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$839B
7TENCENT🇨🇳 ChinaTechnology$753B
8TESLA INC🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$641B
9ALIBABA GRP🇨🇳 ChinaConsumer Discretionary$615B
10BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY🇺🇸 United StatesFinancials$588B
11TSMC🇹🇼 TaiwanTechnology$534B
12VISA INC🇺🇸 United StatesIndustrials$468B
13JPMORGAN CHASE🇺🇸 United StatesFinancials$465B
14JOHNSON & JOHNSON🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$433B
15SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS🇰🇷 South KoreaTechnology$431B
16KWEICHOW MOUTA🇨🇳 ChinaConsumer Staples$385B
17WALMART INC🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$383B
18MASTERCARD INC🇺🇸 United StatesIndustrials$354B
19UNITEDHEALTH GRP🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$352B
20LVMH MOET HENNESSY🇫🇷 FranceConsumer Discretionary$337B
21WALT DISNEY CO🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$335B
22BANK OF AMERICA🇺🇸 United StatesFinancials$334B
23PROCTER & GAMBLE🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Staples$333B
24NVIDIA CORP🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$331B
25HOME DEPOT INC🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$329B
26NESTLE SA🇨🇭 SwitzerlandConsumer Staples$322B
27IND & COMM BK🇨🇳 ChinaFinancials$290B
28PAYPAL HOLDINGS🇺🇸 United StatesIndustrials$284B
29ROCHE HOLDING🇨🇭 SwitzerlandHealth Care$283B
30INTEL CORP🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$261B
31ASML HOLDING NV🇳🇱 NetherlandsTechnology$255B
32TOYOTA MOTOR🇯🇵 JapanConsumer Discretionary$254B
33COMCAST CORP🇺🇸 United StatesTelecommunications$248B
34VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS🇺🇸 United StatesTelecommunications$241B
35EXXON MOBIL CORP🇺🇸 United StatesEnergy$236B
36NETFLIX INC🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$231B
37ADOBE INC🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$228B
38COCA-COLA CO🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Staples$227B
39MEITUAN🇨🇳 ChinaTechnology$226B
40PING AN🇨🇳 ChinaFinancials$219B
41CISCO SYSTEMS🇺🇸 United StatesTelecommunications$218B
42AT&T INC🇺🇸 United StatesFinancials$216B
43L'OREAL🇫🇷 FranceConsumer Discretionary$215B
🇨🇳 ChinaFinancials$213B
45ABBOTT LABS🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$212B
46NOVARTIS AG🇨🇭 SwitzerlandHealth Care$212B
47NIKE INC🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$209B
48ORACLE CORP🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$202B
49PFIZER INC🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$202B
50CHEVRON CORP🇺🇸 United StatesOil & Gas$202B
51CHINA MERCH🇨🇳 ChinaFinancials$196B
52PEPSICO INC🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Staples$195B
53SALESFORCE.COM🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$195B
54MERCK & CO🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$195B
55ABBVIE INC🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$191B
56BROADCOM INC🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$189B
57PROSUS NV🇳🇱 NetherlandsTechnology$181B
58RELIANCE INDS🇮🇳 IndiaEnergy$180B
59THERMO FISHER🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$180B
60ELI LILLY & CO🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$179B
🇨🇳 ChinaFinancials$178B
62SOFTBANK GROUP🇯🇵 JapanTelecommunications$176B
63ACCENTURE PLC🇮🇪 IrelandIndustrials$176B
64TEXAS INSTRUMENT🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$174B
65MCDONALDS CORP🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$167B
66VOLKSWAGEN AG🇩🇪 GermanyConsumer Discretionary$165B
67BHP GROUP LTD🇦🇺 AustraliaBasic Materials$163B
68WELLS FARGO & CO🇺🇸 United StatesFinancials$162B
69TATA CONSULTANCY🇮🇳 IndiaTechnology$161B
70DANAHER CORP🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$160B
71NOVO NORDISK🇩🇰 DenmarkHealth Care$160B
72MEDTRONIC PLC🇮🇪 IrelandHealth Care$159B
73WULIANGYE YIBI🇨🇳 ChinaConsumer Staples$159B
74COSTCO WHOLESALE🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$156B
75T-MOBILE US INC🇺🇸 United StatesTelecommunications$156B
76CITIGROUP INC🇺🇸 United StatesFinancials$152B
77HONEYWELL INTL🇺🇸 United StatesIndustrials$151B
78QUALCOMM INC🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$151B
79SAP SE🇩🇪 GermanyTechnology$151B
80BOEING CO🇺🇸 United StatesIndustrials$149B
81ROYAL DUTCH SHELL🇳🇱 NetherlandsOil & Gas$148B
82NEXTERA ENERGY🇺🇸 United StatesUtilities$148B
83UNITED PARCEL🇺🇸 United StatesIndustrials$148B
84UNION PAC CORP🇺🇸 United StatesIndustrials$148B
85UNILEVER PLC🇬🇧 United KingdomConsumer Staples$147B
86AIA🇭🇰 Hong Kong SARFinancials$147B
87LINDE PLC🇬🇧 United KingdomBasic Materials$146B
88AMGEN INC🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$144B
89BRISTOL-MYER SQB🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$141B
90SIEMENS AG🇩🇪 GermanyIndustrials$140B
91BANK OF CHINA🇨🇳 ChinaFinancials$139B
92PHILIP MORRIS INC🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Staples$138B
93LOWE'S COS INC🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$136B
🇺🇸 United StatesTelecommunications$135B
95CHINA MOBILE🇭🇰 Hong Kong SARTelecommunications$134B
96SONY GROUP CORP🇯🇵 JapanConsumer Discretionary$132B
97ASTRAZENECA PLC🇬🇧 United KingdomHealth Care$131B
98ROYAL BANK OF CANADA🇨🇦 CanadaFinancials$131B
99STARBUCKS CORP🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$129B
100ANHEUSER-BUSCH🇧🇪 BelgiumConsumer Staples$128B

Note: Data as of March 31, 2021.

Within the ranking, there was a wide disparity in value. Apple was worth over $2 trillion, more than 16 times that of Anheuser-Busch (AB InBev), which took the 100th spot at $128 billion.

In total, 59 companies were headquartered in the United States, making up 65% of the top 100’s total market capitalization. China and its regions was the second most common location for company headquarters, with 14 companies on the list.

Risers and Fallers

What are some of the notable changes to the biggest companies in the world compared to last year’s ranking?

Tesla’s market capitalization surged by an eye-watering 565%, temporarily making Elon Musk the richest person in the world. Food delivery platform Meituan and PayPal benefited from growing e-commerce popularity with their market capitalizations growing by 221% and 151% respectively.

Tech companies TSMC and ASML Holdings were also among the top 10 risers, thanks to a shortage of semiconductor chips and growing demand.

On the other end of the scale, Swiss companies Nestlé, Novartis, and Roche Holding were all among the bottom 10 companies by market capitalization growth. China Mobile was the only company to decline with a -12% change. The company was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange as a result of an executive order issued by former president Donald Trump, and recently announced its intention to list on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

A Sector View

Across the 100 biggest companies in the world, some sectors had higher weightings.

SectorTotal Market Cap in Top 100% of Top 100 Market CapNumber of Companies in Top 100
Consumer Discretionary$6.0T18.9%17
Health Care$3.3T10.5%16
Consumer Staples$2.0T6.4%9
Basic Materials$0.3T1.0%2

Technology had the highest market capitalization and was also the most common sector, with Big Tech dominating the top 10. Companies in the consumer discretionary, financials, and health care sectors also had a strong representation in the ranking.

Despite having only five companies on the list, the energy sector amounted to almost 10% of the top 100’s market capitalization, mostly due to Saudi Aramco’s whopping valuation.

An Uncertain Recovery

From near market lows on March 31, 2020, all sectors saw increases in their market capitalization. However, top 100 companies in some sectors outperformed their respective industry index, while others did not.

Sector Performance of Biggest Companies in the World

Basic materials and industrials, both cyclical sectors, were high performers in the top 100 and outperformed their respective industry indexes. Technology companies also outperformed, and accounted for $255 billion or 31% of all shareholder distributions by the top 100, far more than any other sector. Apple alone spent $73 billion on share buybacks and $14 billion in dividends in the 2020 calendar year.

On the other hand, the worst-performing sectors in the top 100 were health care, utilities, and energy. While the index performance for health care and utilities was also relatively poor, the wider energy sector performed fairly well.

It’s perhaps not surprising that all sectors saw positive returns since their low levels in March 2020, buoyed by fiscal stimulus and central bank policies. As countries begin to reopen, will the value of the biggest companies in the world continue to climb?

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Charted: U.S. Consumer Debt Approaches $16 Trillion

Robust growth in mortgages has pushed U.S. consumer debt to nearly $16 trillion. Click to gain further insight into the situation.



Charted: U.S. Consumer Debt Approaches $16 Trillion

According to the Federal Reserve (Fed), U.S. consumer debt is approaching a record-breaking $16 trillion. Critically, the rate of increase in consumer debt for the fourth quarter of 2021 was also the highest seen since 2007.

This graphic provides context into the consumer debt situation using data from the end of 2021.

Housing Vs. Non-Housing Debt

The following table includes the data used in the above graphic. Housing debt covers mortgages, while non-housing debt covers auto loans, student loans, and credit card balances.

DateHousing Debt
(USD trillions)
Non-Housing Debt
(USD trillions)
Total Consumer Debt
(USD trillions)
Q1 20035.182.057.23
Q2 20035.342.047.38
Q3 20035.452.107.55
Q4 20035.962.108.06
Q1 20046.172.138.30
Q2 20046.342.128.46
Q3 20046.642.208.84
Q4 20046.832.229.05
Q1 20057.012.199.20
Q2 20057.232.269.49
Q3 20057.452.359.80
Q4 20057.672.3410.01
Q1 20068.022.3610.38
Q2 20068.352.4010.75
Q3 20068.652.4611.11
Q4 20068.832.4811.31
Q1 20079.032.4611.49
Q2 20079.332.5311.86
Q3 20079.562.5812.14
Q4 20079.752.6312.38
Q1 20089.892.6512.54
Q2 20089.952.6512.60
Q3 20089.982.6912.67
Q4 20089.972.7112.68
Q1 20099.852.6812.53
Q2 20099.772.6312.40
Q3 20099.652.6212.27
Q4 20099.552.6212.17
Q1 20109.532.5812.11
Q2 20109.382.5511.93
Q3 20109.282.5611.84
Q4 20109.122.5911.71
Q1 20119.182.5811.76
Q2 20119.142.5811.72
Q3 20119.042.6211.66
Q4 20118.902.6311.53
Q1 20128.802.6411.44
Q2 20128.742.6411.38
Q3 20128.602.7111.31
Q4 20128.592.7511.34
Q1 20138.482.7511.23
Q2 20138.382.7711.15
Q3 20138.442.8511.29
Q4 20138.582.9411.52
Q1 20148.702.9611.66
Q2 20148.623.0211.64
Q3 20148.643.0711.71
Q4 20148.683.1611.84
Q1 20158.683.1711.85
Q2 20158.623.2411.86
Q3 20158.753.3112.06
Q4 20158.743.3712.11
Q1 20168.863.3912.25
Q2 20168.843.4512.29
Q3 20168.823.5412.36
Q4 20168.953.6312.58
Q1 20179.093.6412.73
Q2 20179.143.6912.83
Q3 20179.193.7712.96
Q4 20179.323.8213.14
Q1 20189.383.8513.23
Q2 20189.433.8713.30
Q3 20189.563.9513.51
Q4 20189.534.0113.54
Q1 20199.654.0213.67
Q2 20199.814.0613.87
Q3 20199.844.1313.97
Q4 20199.954.2014.15
Q1 202010.104.2114.31
Q2 202010.154.1214.27
Q3 202010.224.1414.36
Q4 202010.394.1714.56
Q1 202110.504.1414.64
Q2 202110.764.2014.96
Q3 202110.994.2415.23
Q4 202111.254.3415.59

Source: Federal Reserve

Trends in Housing Debt

Home prices have experienced upward pressure since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is evidenced by the Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which has increased by 34% since the start of the pandemic.

Driving this growth are various pandemic-related impacts. For example, the cost of materials such as lumber have seen enormous spikes. We’ve covered this story in a previous graphic, which showed how many homes could be built with $50,000 worth of lumber. In most cases, these higher costs are passed on to the consumer.

Another key factor here is mortgage rates, which fell to all-time lows in 2020. When rates are low, consumers are able to borrow in larger quantities. This increases the demand for homes, which in turn inflates prices.

Ultimately, higher home prices translate to more mortgage debt being incurred by families.

No Need to Worry, Though

Economists believe that today’s housing debt isn’t a cause for concern. This is because the quality of borrowers is much stronger than it was between 2003 and 2007, in the years leading up to the financial crisis and subsequent housing crash.

In the chart below, subprime borrowers (those with a credit score of 620 and below) are represented by the red-shaded bars:

Mortgage originations by Credit Score

We can see that subprime borrowers represent very little (2%) of today’s total originations compared to the period between 2003 to 2007 (12%). This suggests that American homeowners are, on average, less likely to default on their mortgage.

Economists have also noted a decline in the household debt service ratio, which measures the percentage of disposable income that goes towards a mortgage. This is shown in the table below, along with the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate.

YearMortgage Payments as a % of Disposable IncomeAverage 30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate

Source: Federal Reserve

While it’s true that Americans are less burdened by their mortgages, we must acknowledge the decrease in mortgage rates that took place over the same period.

With the Fed now increasing rates to calm inflation, Americans could see their mortgages begin to eat up a larger chunk of their paycheck. In fact, mortgage rates have already risen for seven consecutive weeks.

Trends in Non-Housing Consumer Debt

The key stories in non-housing consumer debt are student loans and auto loans.

The former category of debt has grown substantially over the past two decades, with growth tapering off during the pandemic. This can be attributed to COVID relief measures which have temporarily lowered the interest rate on direct federal student loans to 0%.

Additionally, these loans were placed into forbearance, meaning 37 million borrowers have not been required to make payments. As of April 2022, the value of these waived payments has reached $195 billion.

Over the course of the pandemic, very few direct federal borrowers have made voluntary payments to reduce their loan principal. When payments eventually resume, and the 0% interest rate is reverted, economists believe that delinquencies could rise significantly.

Auto loans, on the other hand, are following a similar trajectory as mortgages. Both new and used car prices have risen due to the global chip shortage, which is hampering production across the entire industry.

To put this in numbers, the average price of a new car has climbed from $35,600 in 2019, to over $47,000 today. Over a similar timeframe, the average price of a used car has grown from $19,800, to over $28,000.

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Why Investors Tuned Out Netflix

Disappointing results have pushed Netflix shares down by over 60% year-to-date. This infographic puts the company’s rocky year into perspective.



Why Investors Tuned Out Netflix

Netflix shares have enjoyed an incredible run over the past decade. Subscriber growth seemed limitless, profitability was improving, and the pandemic gave us a compelling case for watching TV at home.

Things took a drastic turn on April 19, 2022, when Netflix announced its Q1 results. Rather than gaining subscribers as forecasted, the company lost 200,000. This was the first decline in over a decade, and investors rushed to pull their money out.

So, is there a buying opportunity now that Netflix shares are trading at multi-year lows? To help you decide, we’ve provided further context around this historic crash.

Netflix Shares Fall Flat

Over the span of a few months, Netflix shares have erased roughly four years worth of gains. Not all of these losses are due to the drop in subscribers, however.

Prior to the Q1 earnings announcement, Netflix had lost most of its pandemic-related gains. This was primarily due to rising interest rates and people spending less time at home. Still, analysts expected Netflix to add 2.7 million subscribers.

After announcing it had lost 200,000 subscribers instead, the stock quickly fell below $200 (the first time since late 2017). YTD performance (as of April 29, 2022) is an abysmal -67%.

What’s to Blame?

Netflix pointed to three culprits for its loss in subscribers:

  • The suspension of its services in Russia
  • Increasing competition
  • Account sharing

Let’s focus on the latter two, starting with competition. The following table compares the number of subscribers between Netflix and two prominent rivals: Disney+ and HBO.

DateNetflix Subscribers Disney+ Subscribers HBO & HBO Max Subscribers
Q1 2020182.8M26.5M53.8M
Q2 2020192.9M33.5M55.5M
Q3 2020195.1M60.5M56.9M
Q4 2020203.6M73.7M60.6M
Q1 2021207.6M94.9M63.9M
Q2 2021209.2M103.6M67.5M
Q3 2021213.6M116.0M69.4M
Q4 2021221.8M118.1M73.8M
Q1 2022221.6M129.8M76.8M

Disney+ was launched in November 2019, while HBO Max was launched in May 2020. HBO (the channel) and HBO Max subscribers are rolled up as one.

Based on this data, Netflix may be starting to feel the heat of competition. A loss in subscribers is bad news, but it’s even worse when competitors report growth over the same time period.

Keep in mind that we’re only talking about a single quarter, and not a long-term trend. It’s too early to say whether Netflix is actually losing ground, though the company has warned it could shed another 2 million subscribers by July.

Next is account sharing, which according to Netflix, amounts to 100 million non-paying households. This is spread out across the entire world, but if we use the company’s U.S. pricing as a benchmark, it translates to between $1 to $2 billion in lost revenue.

Growth is Everything

In the tech sector, growth is everything. If Netflix can’t return to posting consecutive quarters of subscriber growth, it could be many years before the stock returns to its previous high.

“We’ve definitely seen that once you get to 70, 80 millions of subs, things really tend to slow down. We saw it with HBO, and we’ve seen the same issues with Disney. They’re hitting the upper limit on the big growth.”
– David Campo, NYU

Regaining that momentum is going to be difficult, but Netflix does have plans. To address password sharing, the service may charge a fee for out-of-household profiles that are added to an account. The specifics around enforcement are vague, but Netflix is also considering a lower-priced subscription plan that includes advertising.

Only time will tell if these strategies can stop the bleeding, or perhaps even boost profitability. Rampant inflation, which might persuade consumers to cut down on their subscriptions, could be a source of additional headwinds.

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