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2021 Was Tough for Some, But Others Thrived

2021 Was Tough for Some, But Others Thrived by Market Action Research
(Last Modified: Jan. 13, 2022, 11:39 p.m.)

In 2021, we conducted an research study to determine the aggregate economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on individual industries and at a state level in "Who Strived, Survived, or Struggled in 2020?". In 2021, many businesses opened again after months of working remotely, virtually, and at a distance, but the effects of the pandemic lingered on, getting better and worse at multiple points of the year. For some businesses, the pandemic's effects made it tough, but some thrived and we've got the numbers to prove that.

Every year, Fortune magazine publishes a list of the top ranking businesses in the United States by revenue, which they have dubbed as the "Fortune 500". In the following research, we included the entire Fortune 1000, which is the Fortune 500 plus 500 other companies that ranked the highest in revenues in the United States.

Rankings are show as of 2022 for the year of 2021, whereas the rank change denotes any change from January 13th, 2021 to January 13th 2022. Revenue, profit, and market cap are in the millions, and have been truncated for brevity.

Which Industries had it the Toughest or the Easiest in 2021?

Although many companies saw their business boom back during the reopening of their businesses to the masses, other companies did not come back to what it was before. In fact, for some companies their businesses went in the opposite direction. In 2020, chemicals, energy, and materials sectors were impacted the most by the pandemic, with household products, motor vehicles and parts, and telecommunications industry sinking a bit from their pre-pandemic levels. In 2021 the energy, transportation, industrials, hotels, restaurants, and leisure took the biggest hit, and sectors like materials and telecommunications not only stopped the bleeding but actually saw positive reversal compared to the year prior. The financials, wholesalers, businesses services, food and beverages, and had back to back years of positive gains since the onset of the pandemic, with technology, retailing and healthcare also popping up in to top spots by revenue and rank change.

Women Led Companies

In 2021, there were very few of the Fortune 1000 companies that had women in the position of CEO. Precisely, in 2020 were 68 out of the 1000 companies had women as the CEOs. In 2021, that number only slightly grew to 73 women as the CEOs of Fortune 1000 companies, which is a very low number. Women are still largely under-represented at the highest level of leadership in the top revenue corporations in the United States, especially considering women account for roughly 51% of the total population in the country. In 2021, interestingly women generated an average of 855 million dollars in revenue more than men in similar positions and on average supported close to 400 more employees on average.

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It Was a Tough Year For Many States

Traditionally, States have attracted different types of corporations for a variety of reasons, ranging from average climate, terrain, natural resources, talent pools, taxes, and many other factors. In 2021, states that experience the highest change in revenue compared to 2020 included Washington, Missouri, Minnesota, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. In contrast, several states saw a reversal in revenues compared to the previous years, including Texas, New York, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Nevada, and New Jersey. See the charts below for the full list and rankings.

What's Next?

In 2021, we pondered the same question as we thought about how industries and states would recover since the onset of the pandemic. As we suspected, businesses that prepared themselves with technologies, such as a website or webstore were better positioned to succeed and provide an omni-channel experience as cities opened up. In 2020, this was a relatively new trend, but in 2021 it appears that the trend is become more deeply ingrained, giving people more choices when it comes to how they want to engage, interact, and purchase from brands. In 2022, the concept of letting customers choose their own path is likely to get stronger and more prevalent, especially with virtual reality gaining more popularity among both companies and consumers. In 2016, we said that it was " The Year Virtual Reality Became a Thing", and if we had to make a similar claim, we'd have to say that 2021 was the year that Virtual Reality (also now referred to as the metaverse or multiverse), became interesting to consumers and businesses alike. In 2022, this trend is only likely to continue.

We also proposed the idea that Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum making some headway om 2021 and gain in popularity. In fact, 2021 was probably one of the most explosive years for cryptocurrencies, with terms like "smart contract" and "NFTs" becoming common lingo in just a year's time. In 2022, we definitely see the cryptocurrency market and technologies becoming a more prominent role, as companies and people alike are trying to figure out the best ways to incorporate accepting cryptocurrencies as payments and utilizing blockchain technologies to provide all of the many benefits that the technology can bring to their customers and business.

Originally Published: Jan. 13, 2022, 11:05 p.m.