The Biggest Companies in the World in 2021

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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.

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

Sector Total Market Cap in Top 100 % of Top 100 Market Cap Number of Companies in Top 100
Technology $10.5T 33.0% 20
Consumer Discretionary $6.0T 18.9% 17
Financials $3.4T 10.8% 14
Health Care $3.3T 10.5% 16
Energy $2.7T 8.5% 5
Consumer Staples $2.0T 6.4% 9
Industrials $2.0T 6.4% 9
Telecommunications $1.3T 4.1% 7
Basic Materials $0.3T 1.0% 2
Utilities $0.1T 0.5% 1

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?