The answer to this question used to be easy. A straight ranking of retailers based on their annual revenues, indicating their improvements or declines versus prior years would be enough information for modern branded companies to make strategic bets on where to find growth in retail. Today, disruptive new businesses and partnerships are challenging the notion that a one-dimensional view or even two-dimensional view of retail is good enough.
In the Institute for Real Growth (IRG) study undertaken by Kantar/WPP, one of the critical attributes of companies outperforming their competition is this ability to make bold bets in new spaces. To accomplish this companies need to rethink who their direct competitors are and how to win with complex shoppers. This broader lens looks at a company’s ability to find new routes to consumer, diversify services for faster and more convenient shopping, connect via partnership to new shopping environments, and rethink their own processes and routines.
In Kantar’s 2019 ranking of the top global retailers these themes emerge clearly. We include our views on the future for each company giving a five-year growth projection. We also highlight domestic versus international strengths of each retailer. Our leader – Walmart – is about to experience more rapid growth than in the past due to investments in new routes to market, smart acquisitions, and reinvestments in fast growth areas of their business. Other retailers like Amazon, Alibaba, JD.com continue to climb the rankings and are forecasted to continue growing. Alibaba jumped six spots since our 2018 ranking. As you take the time to review this year’s ranking, ask yourself, “Who’s taking the right risks in a retail competition characterized by disruptive new business models and startups?”