Top 50 Global Retailers: Walmart and Amazon Still Lead, Alibaba Drops Out of Top 10

Walmart and Amazon have retained their No. 1 and No. 2 spots on the National Retail Federation’s 2022 list of the Top 50 Global Retailers, as determined by Kantar Retail. However, marketplace behemoth Alibaba, slowed by COVID-19 and regulatory crackdowns by the Chinese government, fell from its No. 5 spot in 2021 to 13th this year.

Discount and value retailers Schwarz Group (with its Lidl and Kaufland banners), Aldi and Costco also remained in the Top 10 this year, as did international supermarket operators Carrefour and Ahold Delhaize and furniture giant IKEA. Seven & I Holdings, parent company of convenience chain 7-Eleven, broke into the Top 10 this year, as did The Home Depot.

Kantar’s ranking methodology gives points to retailers based on their domestic and international revenues, and retailers need to have direct investments in at least three countries to qualify.

Analyzing the entire Top 50 in a blog post, David Marcotte, SVP, Global Insights & Technology at Kantar identified several important global commerce trends:


  • Solid performance by c-store retailers including A.S. Watson in China, Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm, Japan’s Family Mart and Canada-based Couche-Tard (usually under the Circle K banner);
  • Store growth by small-pantry grocery formats operated by Tesco, Auchan, Casino and Spar International;
  • Higher sales and increased store counts for discounters Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Colombia’s Jerónimo Martins’ Ara; and
  • Omnichannel investments supporting new ways to engage shoppers (Walgreens Boots Alliance, Rewe, Aeon and Uniqlo parent company Fast Retailing), as well as integrating services and fulfillment across multiple groups (Casino, Metro AG and Falabella).

Department store chains in all countries continue to lose overall share, though most had a burst of sales in the summer when most countries relaxed COVID-19 restrictions,” Marcotte wrote. “The hypermart channel has also stopped growing as retailers have responded to shopper needs for proximity and convenience. Retailers in this channel have been replaced by cash-and-carry concepts in some markets.”

Marcotte also provided a forecast for global retail in 2022: “Investment in store networks will clearly return with a large number of remodels and a limited number of new store openings. In-store digital technology like smart shelving and frictionless purchases are expected to be a major competitive differentiator. Omnichannel access is expanding to lower-income groups, which can be a major game changer in Latin America and Africa. Greater use of small autonomous vehicles for fulfillment at a time of limited staffing is already evident in cities and on campuses.

“Next year’s evaluations will be based more on how well new formats address changed shopper needs and the success of global procurement strategies,” Marcotte noted.

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