Consumer confidence was a bit manic in 2012, hitting a five-year high in November and then dropping again in December as consumers doubted an end to the fiscal cliff, according to The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. This uncertainty plays out in the results of CGT’s annual list of the top-performing public consumer goods companies. The vertical lists across 10 categories show a mixture of bright and dark spots — proving that some companies did a great job of capturing the consumer when and where they could while others missed opportunities. Here is a breakdown of the rules and guidelines that we use to determine the players in each category:
Company Rank: 2012 annual revenue or the equivalent is used to determine each company’s placement on the Top 100 list and on each vertical list. All financial information was sourced from annual reports and press releases. Revenue for each company is reported in millions of U.S. dollars ($M). If a company reported revenue in a currency other than U.S. dollars, and did not provide the U.S. dollar equivalent in its annual report, then the figure was subject to live exchange rates at press time (between November 8-14, 2013). Affected companies are marked with an asterisk on each list. Year-over-year gains and losses are reported based on information from the aforementioned sources. The company with the greatest sales gains per category is identified as the “Growth Leader”.
Company Inclusion: Because revenue for most private companies is not readily available, the lists only include publicly traded companies. Thus, well-known consumer goods companies, like Mars Inc. or SC Johnson, are absent from the rankings.
Slicing and Dicing: In the case of holding companies and companies that sell in more than one category (PepsiCo, Unilever, etc.), the company is placed in the vertical that accounts for the majority of its sales. For example, LVMH Moet Hennesy Louis Vuitton operates in the beverage, health & beauty aid and retail categories. However, since the majority of its sales came from its fashion and leather goods business, the company appears on the Apparel, Accessories & Footwear list. It is also worth noting that only sales from consumer divisions are considered when ranking companies on the Pharmaceutical list (and in fewer cases on the Housewares/Appliances list).
Mergers, Demergers and Acquisitions: In most cases, transactions that took place in 2012 and 2013 are not reflected on the lists. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, even though Mondelez International, Inc. did not officially complete the spin off of Kraft Foods Group, Inc. until October 2012, each company reported revenue separately for the year. Mergers and acquisitions that occurred in 2011 or earlier (for example, Sara Lee Corporation’s split) are reflected in the ranking.
Read on to find out which companies led and which companies lagged in 2012.