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An Unprecedented Year for Consumer Goods, To Put it Mildly ...

 

It’s not hard to spot the trends in the 2021 Top 100 Consumer Goods Companies list. Incorporating information from the financial results of publicly owned consumer goods companies, CGT’s annual feature ranks the firms based on their 2020 fiscal year revenue. As this was the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some wild swings but few surprises for anyone who’s been operating within — or even just following — the industry.  

For the companies that reported year-over-year declines, a few common themes can be pinpointed as to why they suffered the most, and they more often than not related to the widespread retail store closures that occurred across the globe. For example, in Apparel/Footwear/Accessories, just three companies squeaked by with positive year-over-year growth: Richemont, VF Corp., and Deckers Brands. Likewise, in Wine & Spirits, eight out of the 10 companies recorded losses as the segment was hammered by plummeting foodservice sales.

On the flip side, nearly three-quarters of Food companies recorded positive growth, as consumers hunkered down at home and loaded up their pantries during 2020. In fact, just 46 consumer goods companies recorded year-over-year growth in fiscal 2020 — compared with 83 in last year’s ranking and 73 in 2019 — and more than half are in the Food category.

Of course, many of the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies on this ranking sell across multiple categories, which means they were subject to myriad challenges and opportunities. For the purposes of classification for the above visualization, companies were slotted into the category in which they sell the majority of their goods, aligning with how CGT has historically classified the list. For example, 55% of PepsiCo’s net revenue mix is fiscal 2020 was in Food and 45% in Beverage, and as a result has been placed in the Food category. (More on the methodology can be found below, at the bottom of the page.)

As CGT has been compiling this list for nearly two decades, we knew when reviewing this year’s details that there were going to be some significant changes. We break down the Top 10 companies below, and it’s worth noting that of the top 10 heavyweights, six of the companies shifted position vs. last year.

 

A copy of the ranking can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.

 

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1. Nestlé SA*

Net Revenue: $92.159 billion
YoY Change: 3.2%
Last Year’s Rank: 1

The reason why Nestlé SA leads this ranking is a familiar story: robust momentum across most categories during pandemic lockdowns and high demand for at-home consumption. The largest contributor to the company’s growth was Purina PetCare and premium brands Purina Pro Plan, Purina ONE, and Felix, spurred on by the wave of pet adoptions from bored social distancers. Sales did take a hit from divestitures, most notably related to the divestment of Nestle Skin Health, its U.S. ice cream business, and the Herta charcuterie business, while confectionery and water dipped thanks to reduced out-of-home and on-the-go sales. And in keeping with true pandemic-era trends, Nestle greatly benefited from the rapid e-commerce acceleration across the globe. The company’s e-commerce sales grew by 48.4% to reach 12.8% of total group sales.

 

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2. Procter & Gamble

Net Revenue: $70.950 billion
YoY Change: 5%
Last Year’s Rank: 2

P&G aggregates its 10 core product categories into five reportable segments — beauty; grooming; health care; fabric and home care; and baby, feminine, and family care — and growth in fiscal 2020 was driven by net sales increases in four out of five. Grooming was the lone decliner thanks to “No Shave November” lasting a lot longer than just one month. As with Nestle, the company and its daily-use brands experienced rapid digital sales growth, with e-commerce organic sales increasing 40% to represent more than one-tenth of the company’s total sales. It was, of course, a challenging year for Procter & Gamble as it managed regional lockdowns, as well as operational and sourcing obstacles, that challenged production during a period of sky-high consumer demand for cleaning, hygiene, and health products.

 

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3. PepsiCo

Net Revenue: $70.372 billion
YoY Change: 4.8%
Last Year’s Rank: 3

PepsiCo held steady at No. 3 on this year’s list, as the snack giant saw growth in all seven of its divisions. Most significantly, Frito-Lay North America, which accounts for 46% of its operating profit, recorded 26% net revenue growth for the year. But proving that giants can still be nimble, PepsiCo also turned heads during the pandemic by quickly launching its first direct-to-consumer sites in the United States — PantryShop.com and Snacks.com — in just 30 days to meet elevated consumer demand and expand its omnichannel capabilities. The company has since expanded the platform to offer limited-time products and test premium items. Also moving the financial needle included PepsiCo’s acquisition of Be & Cheery, one of the largest online snacks companies in China.

 

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4. Unilever N.V.*

Net Revenue: $60.090 billion
YoY Change: -2.4%
Last Year’s rank: 6

Although its hand and home hygiene products, laundry, and in-home food and refreshment categories drove growth, the company’s food solutions and out-of-home ice cream sales took a hit because of channel closures. As with P&G, consumers’ decreasing priority to spend on personal grooming products also took a toll. But despite the declines, Unilever still managed to hop up two spots on this year’s ranking. E-commerce was once again a bright spot, with the channel growing by 61% to represent 9% of the company’s total sales.

 

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5. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton*              

Net Revenue: $52.898 billion
YoY Change: -17%
Last Year’s Rank: 4

LVMH, which includes such brands as Moët & Chandon, Krug, Hennessy, Dior, Fendi, and Marc Jacobs, was hit hard by retail closures and travel restrictions during the pandemic, causing revenue to plummet and the luxury company to slip a spot in the ranking. In addition to profits from its wine and spirits segment dropping 20%, perfume and cosmetics plunged 88% and watches and jewelry sank 59%. Though the company’s annual investors report doesn’t sugarcoat the results, it touts the resiliency of its business and employees, noting the Q4 declines lessened as both the fashion landscape and its wine and spirits business recovered. It closes by expressing its “cautious confidence” in entering the next year, noting that it will continue developing its brands through innovation and investments.

 

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7. Imperial Brands PLC*

Net Revenue: $48.991 billion     
YoY Change: 3.1%
Last Year’s Rank: 10

Imperial Brands cited the resilience of its business for driving growth during a difficult year, and the tobacco company leapfrogged past two companies to land at Lucky 7. To be sure, it was a year of many changes for Imperial: A series of leadership shuffling included the welcoming a new CEO during the period — Stefan Bomhard, who joined from automotive retailer and distributor Inchcape — and the company also sold off its global premium cigar businesses. As part of his leadership priorities, Bomhard stated that though next-generation products (NGP) like vaping and heated tobacco would play a role in the company’s future, they would “take a much more prudent approach, built around a tightly focused business model.”

 

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8. Anheuser-Busch InBev

Net Revenue: $46.881 billion     
YoY Change: -3.7%
Last Year’s Rank: 7

Though the beverage company had a tough year, it finished strong in the fourth quarter, closing out the period with 4.5% revenue growth. It was also a transformative year for the company as it quickly explored and executed new ways to meet the increased in-home consumption behaviors of consumers. This included its nascent Ze Delivery initiative — a direct-to-consumer courier service that fulfilled more than 27 million orders during the fiscal year — and its owned e-commerce beer store portfolio. AB InBev, which sells in more than 150 countries, also grew its global market share and e-commerce presence through partnership with third-party retailers.

 

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9. Tyson Foods

Net Revenue: $43.185 billion     
YoY Change: 1.8%
Last Year’s Rank: 9

Tyson held steady at #9 this year, eking out nearly 2% growth vs. last year despite ongoing challenges the food company and its 139,000 employees faced trying to operate during the pandemic. Factory shutdowns and slowdowns negatively impacted Tyson’ productivity and production costs, as did decreases in foodservice sales, and it reported $500 million of direct incremental expenses related to COVID-19. However, the company did benefit from higher average sales prices that were attributed to increased retail demand.

 

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10. Nike, Inc.     

Net Revenue: $37.402 billion
YoY Change: -4%
Last Year’s Rank: 11

Prior to the pandemic, Nike’s fiscal 2020 was shaping up to be a much different story. For the first half of its fiscal year, revenue for the apparel and footwear brand and retailer was up 9%. Things, of course, changed dramatically when up to 90% of stores were closed in some regions during its fiscal Q4. Despite these challenges, the company has been a success story when it comes to consumer digital engagement and generating loyalty, and Nike grew digital sales 47% for the year, with all regions recording double-digit digital growth. And although it reported a year-over-year decline, Nike muscled its way up a spot on the CGT ranking.

Rules and Guidelines

Inclusion: Since the annual revenue of most privately held consumer goods manufacturers is not available, the annual Top 100 list only includes publicly traded companies. Therefore, well-known manufacturers such as Mars Inc. and Ferrero Group are absent from the rankings. It should also be noted that only revenues from the sale of consumer goods are considered when ranking companies that also have extensive operations in other businesses (such as the pharmacy and medical device operations at Johnson & Johnson).

Rankings: Because fiscal 2021 has yet to close for many companies, CGT used fiscal 2020 revenue totals to determine placement on the Top 100 list. All financial information was sourced from the company’s own annual reports, press releases, and other publicly available information. Revenue for each company is reported in millions of U.S. dollars. If a company’s revenue was reported in a different currency, the amount was calculated using a predetermined neutral exchange rate (Sept. 1, 2021), with an asterisk next to the company’s name to indicate as such. One-year gains are based on information from one of the aforementioned sources and methods.

M&As: In some cases, mergers, acquisitions, or spinoffs that took place in the second half of 2020 or later are not reflected in these sales totals. Deals that occurred in the first half of 2020 or earlier are reflected in the numbers.

Rank Last Year Company 2020 Net $M YoY Change   Rank Last Year Company 2020 Net $M YoY Change
1 1 Nestlé SA* $92,159 3.20%   51 61 Arla Foods* $12,611 1%
2 2 Procter & Gamble $70,950 5%   52 45 Kao Corp.* $12,567 -8%
3 3 PepsiCo $70,372 4.80%   53 57 Nintendo Co.* $11,900 9%
4 6 Unilever N.V.* $60,090 -2.40%   54 63 Saputo, Inc.* $11,830 10.70%
5 4 LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton* $52,898 -17%   55 53 China Mengniu Dairy Co.* $11,777 -3.80%
6 8 JBS S.A.* $52,104 32.10%   56 56 Keurig Dr Pepper $11,620 4.50%
7 10 Imperial Brands PLC* $48,991 3.10%   57 49 NH Foods Ltd.* $11,186 -0.35%
8 7 Anheuser-Busch InBev $46,881 -3.70%   58 66 Conagra Brands $11,054 15.90%
9 9 Tyson Foods $43,185 1.80%   59 47 VF Corp.  $10,489 2%
10 11 Nike, Inc. $37,402 -4%   60 58 Pernod Ricard* $10,009 -9.50%
11 26 San Miguel Corp.* $36,372 -29%   61 70 Danish Crown* $9,701 8%
12 15 British American Tobacco PLC* $35,509 -0.40%   62 60 MolsonCoors Brewing Co. $9,654 -8.70%
13 13 L’Oréal* $33,161 -4.10%   63 67 Hormel Foods $9,608 1%
14 12 Coca-Cola Co. $33,014 -11%   64 65 Newell Brands $9,400 -3.40%
15 19 Haier Smart Home $32,385 4.30%   65 62 Carlsberg A/S* $9,342 -12.60%
16 16 3M Co. $32,184 0.10%   66 75 Campbell Soup Co. $8,691 7%
17 17 Philip Morris International $28,694 -3.70%   67 59 Shiseido Co.* $8,376 -18.60%
18 14 Heineken Holding N.V.* $28,159 -11.90%   68 74 Constellation Brands $8,344 3%
19 18 Danone* $27,980 -6.60%   69 68 Beiersdorf AG* $8,323 -5.70%
20 21 Mondelez International $26,581 2.80%   70 72 Groupe SEB* $8,222 -5.60%
21 23 Kraft Heinz $26,185 4.80%   71 76 Hershey Co. $8,150 2%
22 22 Altria Group $26,153 4.20%   72 78 PT Gudang Garam* $8,024 3.50%
23 24 WH Group Ltd. $25,589 6.20%   73 73 Thai Beverage Public Co.* $7,812 -5.50%
24 20 Adidas AG* $23,509 -16.10%   74 77 J.M. Smucker Co. $7,801 -0.50%
25 25 Henkel AG*  $22,805 -4.30%   75 79 Abbott - Nutrition $7,647 3.20%
26 30 Fonterra Cooperative Group $20,282 5.30%   76 91 BRF - Brasil Foods* $7,618 18%
27 29 Whirlpool Corp. $19,456 -4.70%   77 82 Hermes International* $7,569 -7.70%
28 37 Reckitt* $19,276 11.80%   78 85 Masco Corporation $7,188 7%
29 28 Associated British Foods* $19,199 -12%   79 64 PVH Corp. $7,133 -28%
30 33 Kimberly-Clark Corp. $19,140 4%   80 95 First Pacific Co. $7,131 -6.40%
31 27 Japan Tobacco* $19,027 -3.80%   81 N/A Natura &Co.* $7,125 155.70%
32 31 Asahi Group Holdings* $18,439 -2.90%   82 84 LG H&H* $6,775 2.10%
33 35 General Mills $17,627 5%   83 71 Coty, Inc. $6,738 -22%
34 38 Richemont* $16,868 2%   84 89 Clorox Co. $6,721 8%
35 34 Kirin Holdings* $16,818 -5%   85 80 HanesBrands Inc. $6,664 -4.30%
36 52 Grupo Bimbo* $16,591 13.40%   86 83 Unicharm Corp.* $6,616 1.90%
37 39 Colgate-Palmolive Co. $16,471 5%   87 81 Bandai Namco Holdings Inc.* $6,584 -1.10%
38 40 BSH Hausgeräte* $16,466 5.30%   88 N/A ITC Ltd.* $6,346 2.40%
39 36 Diageo PLC* $16,189 -8.70%   89 86 Puma*  $6,201 -4.90%
40 32 Kering* $15,545 -17.50%   90 88 Ralph Lauren Corp. $6,159 -2.40%
41 42 Uni-President Enterprises* $15,135 2.70%   91 69 Swatch Group SA* $6,118 -28.70%
42 51 Yili* $15,010 6.50%   92 92 Savencia SA* $6,112 3.10%
43 44 Stanley Black & Decker $14,535 1%   93 N/A Arcelik A.S.* $6,031 1.15%
44 41 Estée Lauder Companies $14,294 -3.80%   94 87 Bayer Consumer Health* $5,992 -7.50%
45 43 Essity* $14,198 -5.90%   95 94 Post Holdings $5,699 0.30%
46 46 Johnson & Johnson (Consumer) $14,100 1.10%   96 96 McCormick & Co. $5,601 5%
47 54 GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare*  $13,821 12%   97 N/A Herbalife Ltd. $5,542 13.60%
48 48 Kellogg Co. $13,770 1.40%   98 100 Electronic Arts $5,537 10.60%
49 50 AB Electrolux* $13,523 3.20%   99 N/A Hasbro, Inc. $5,465 -8%
50 55 Royal Friesland Campina N.V.* $13,197 -1.40%   100 90 Tapestry, Inc. $4,961 -22%