Top 50 Global Retailers Ranked

Walmart was named the top global retailer of 2021, according to a recent ranking of the year’s most impactful retailers of the year.
Walmart storefront

2021 rocked retailers just as it did in 2020. Fortunately, many retailers made big gains and closed the year with higher revenue and profits than pre-pandemic years. Globally, retailers were still navigating lockdown measures and COVID-19 restrictions throughout the year, but most retailers were able to reopen stores and meet pent-up shopper demand. Apparel retailers benefited when malls and shops reopened, however, supply chain challenges weighed on retailers across sectors.

The ranking was compiled by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Kantar and compared retailers that operate in multiple countries. Retailers were ranked based on their impact and operations from the start of 2021. Kantar’s retailer database is maintained in a retailer’s reported local currency and converted to U.S. dollars in order to compare revenues. The ranking methodology gave points to retailers based on domestic and international retail revenue.

“The second year of the global pandemic challenged global retail in 2021 as it did in 2020,” David Marcotte, senior vice president of global insights and technology at Kantar, said in a statement. “And, just as in 2020, global retail emerged with far more revenue and profit as it managed changes in shopper needs and routines.”

Here are the top 15 global retailers as ranked by NRF and Kantar:

  1. Walmart
  3. Schwarz Group
  4. Aldi
  5. Costco
  6. Ahold Delhaize
  7. Carrefour
  8. Ikea
  9. Seven & I
  10. The Home Depot
  11. Walgreens Boots Alliance
  12. Metro AG
  13. Alibaba
  14. Rewe
  15. Tesco

Walmart was the top retailer, expanding its dominance over the past several years. The retail giant made several changes and service additions in 2021, including expanding its Walmart+ loyalty program and delivery services. Walmart’s omnichannel presence has grown since the company’s recent investments. Amazon, which has seen huge growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, was second overall.

Year to year, there were also several changes in the rankings, including No. 13 Alibaba (down from No. 5 in 2020), No. 6 Ahold Delhaize (up from No. 7), No. 7 Carrefour (up from No. 8), No. 8 Ikea (up from No. 9), No 9. Seven & I (up from No. 13) and No. 10 The Home Depot (up from No. 15).

The Home Depot’s ascent is also no surprise, given that home improvement has seen huge demand throughout the pandemic. As more consumers spend more time at home, home improvement projects have been at an all-time high, in addition to increased demand for home furnishings.