The Fortune Global 500 List is an annual ranking of the largest 500 companies by revenue worldwide. The publisher of the rankings, Fortune magazine, has recently put together an excellent interactive chart that shows how the list has changed over the last 20 years.
Here’s the companies on the 2016 edition mapped based on the location of their headquarters. The size of each circle is equivalent to the most recent revenue number:
As you can see, companies are mostly concentrated in the United States, China, Japan, and the EU. Here’s the exact breakdown:
- United States: 134
- China: 103
- Japan: 52
- France: 29
- Germany: 28
- United Kingdom: 28
- South Korea: 26
- Switzerland: 15
- Netherlands: 12
- Canada: 11
- Other: 75
The biggest company by revenue? It’s Walmart, and it has a circle that takes up the whole continental United States on the map. That circle represents its annual revenues of $482 billion.
But the real question isn’t which company is the biggest – what’s much more interesting is to look at the rankings data to see what interesting stories can be told.
Movers and Shakers on the Fortune Global 500 List
How have companies on the list today performed over the last 20 years?
Companies such as Walmart or Royal Dutch Shell have been remarkably consistent blue chips:
Other companies are not so consistent. They have ups and downs, and here the rankings data helps to tell their tales.
For example, you can see the “Dark Ages” of Apple in the following graph after they fired Steve Jobs. The company spent 12 years without him, and you can see that by 1997 they were almost off the Fortune Global 500 list.
Apple acquired NeXT in 1997 and Jobs would regain the title of CEO. Ten years later, the iPhone was released and the company soared back into the Top 10.
But Apple isn’t the only company that is a mover or shaker.
Amazon.com, of course, is also growing at a breakneck pace:
There are many newer entries on the list from China, and it seems that almost every one has a trajectory similar to this:
What does the state-sponsored Aviation Industry Corp. of China do, exactly?
The company’s 542,236 employees build planes – lots of planes. Particularly, they seem to build fighter jets, bombers, drones, and even entire airports.
Here’s another skyrocketing Chinese company. This time it is the China Merchants Bank:
Meanwhile, the effects of the recent commodity downturn can be seen in the trajectories of companies such as Rio Tinto:
And the chart for the Royal Bank of Scotland shows how it was affected by the 2009 Financial Crisis:
If you haven’t already, we recommend checking out the full interactive piece by Fortune.
All of the World’s Money and Markets in One Visualization
Our most famous visualization, updated for 2020 to show all global debt, wealth, money, and assets in one massive and mind-bending chart.
All of the World’s Money and Markets in One Visualization
In the current economic circumstances, there are some pretty large numbers being thrown around by both governments and the financial media.
The U.S. budget deficit this year, for example, is projected to hit $3.8 trillion, which would be more than double the previous record set during the financial crisis ($1.41 trillion in FY2009). Meanwhile, the Fed has announced “open-ended” asset-buying programs to support the economy, which will add even more to its current $7 trillion balance sheet.
Given the scale of these new numbers—how can we relate them back to the more conventional numbers and figures that we may be more familiar with?
Introducing the $100 Billion Square
In the above data visualization, we even the playing field by using a common denominator to put the world’s money and markets all on the same scale and canvas.
Each black square on the chart is worth $100 billion, and is not a number to be trifled with:
In fact, the entire annual GDP of Cuba could fit in one square ($97 billion), and the Greek economy would be roughly two squares ($203 billion).
Alternatively, if you’re contrasting this unit to numbers found within Corporate America, there are useful comparisons there as well. For example, the annual revenues of Wells Fargo ($103.9 billion) would just exceed one square, while Facebook’s would squeeze in with room to spare ($70.7 billion).
Billions, Trillions, or Quadrillions?
Here’s our full list, which sums up all of the world’s money and markets, from the smallest to the biggest, along with sources used:
|Category||Value ($ Billions, USD)||Source|
|Silver||$44||World Silver Survey 2019|
|Global Military Spending||$1,782||World Bank|
|U.S. Federal Deficit (FY 2020)||$3,800||U.S. CBO (Projected, as of April 2020)|
|Coins & Bank Notes||$6,662||BIS|
|Fed's Balance Sheet||$7,037||U.S. Federal Reserve|
|The World's Billionaires||$8,000||Forbes|
|Gold||$10,891||World Gold Council (2020)|
|The Fortune 500||$22,600||Fortune 500 (2019 list)|
|Stock Markets||$89,475||WFE (April 2020)|
|Narrow Money Supply||$35,183||CIA Factbook|
|Broad Money Supply||$95,698||CIA Factbook|
|Global Debt||$252,600||IIF Debt Monitor|
|Global Real Estate||$280,600||Savills Global Research (2018 est.)|
|Global Wealth||$360,603||Credit Suisse|
|Derivatives (Market Value)||$11,600||BIS (Dec 2019)|
|Derivatives (Notional Value)||$558,500||BIS (Dec 2019)|
|Derivatives (Notional Value - High end)||$1,000,000||Various sources (Unofficial)|
Derivatives top the list, estimated at $1 quadrillion or more in notional value according to a variety of unofficial sources.
However, it’s worth mentioning that because of their non-tangible nature, the value of financial derivatives are measured in two very different ways. Notional value represents the position or obligation of the contract (i.e. a call to buy 100 shares at the price of $50 per share), while gross market value measures the price of the derivative security itself (i.e. $1.00 per call option, multiplied by 100 shares).
It’s a subtle difference that manifests itself in a big way numerically.
Correction: Graphic updated to reflect the average value of an NBA team.
Charting the Rise and Fall of the Global Luxury Goods Market
This infographic charts the rise and fall of the $308 billion global personal luxury market, and explores what the coming year holds for its growth
The Rise and Fall of the Global Luxury Goods Market
Global demand for personal luxury goods has been steadily increasing for decades, resulting in an industry worth $308 billion in 2019.
However, the insatiable desire for consumers to own nice things was suddenly interrupted by the coming of COVID-19, and experts are predicting a brutal contraction of up to one-third of the current luxury good market size this year.
Will the industry bounce back? Or will it return as something noticeably different?
A Once Promising Trajectory
The global luxury goods market—which includes beauty, apparel, and accessories—has compounded at a 6% pace since the 1990s.
Recent years of growth in the personal luxury goods market can be mostly attributed to Chinese consumers. This geographic market accounted for 90% of total sales growth in 2019, followed by the Europe and the Americas.
Analysts suggest that China’s younger luxury goods consumers in particular have significant spending power, with an average spend of $6,000 (¥41,000) per person in pre-COVID times.
An Industry Now in Distress
The lethal combination of reduced foot traffic and decreased consumer spending in the first quarter of 2020 has brought the retail industry to its knees.
In fact, more than 80% of fashion and luxury players will experience financial distress as a result of extended store closures.
With iconic luxury retailers such as Neiman Marcus filing for bankruptcy, the pressure on the luxury industry is clear. It should be noted however, that companies who were experiencing distress before the COVID-19 outbreak will be the hardest hit.
Predicting the Collapse
In a recent report, Bain & Company estimated a 25% to 30% global luxury market contraction for the first quarter of 2020 based on several economic variables. They have also modeled three scenarios to predict the performance for the remainder of 2020.
- Optimistic scenario: A limited market contraction of 15% to 18%, assuming increased consumer demand for the second and third quarter of the year, roughly equating to a sales decline of $46 billion to $56 billion.
- Intermediate scenario: A moderate market contraction of between 22% and 25%, or $68 to $77 billion.
- Worst-case scenario: A steep contraction of between 30% and 35%, equating to $92 billion to $108 billion. This assumes a longer period of sales decline.
Although there are signs of recovery in China, the industry is not expected to fully return to 2019 levels until 2022 at the earliest. By that stage, the industry could have transformed entirely.
Changing Consumer Mindsets
Since the beginning of the pandemic, one-quarter of consumers have delayed purchasing luxury items. In fact, a portion of those who have delayed purchasing luxury goods are now considering entirely new avenues, such as seeking out cheaper alternatives.
However, most people surveyed claim that they will postpone buying luxury items until they can get a better deal on price.
This frugal mindset could spark an interesting behavioral shift, and set the stage for a new category to emerge from the ashes—the second-hand luxury market.
Numerous sources claim that pre-owned luxury could in fact overtake the traditional luxury market, and the pandemic economy could very well be a tipping point.
The Future of Luxury
Medium-term market growth could be driven by a number of factors, from a global growing middle class and their demand for luxury products, as well as retailers’ sudden shift to e-commerce.
While analysts can only rely on predictions to determine the future of personal luxury, it is clear that the industry is at a crossroads.
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