Is Walmart Still the Largest Company in the World in 2024? A Detailed Look at Its Size and Dominance

As shoppers, we’ve all experienced the immense selection and rock-bottom prices at Walmart, the ubiquitous brick-and-mortar retail giant. But many may not realize just how massive this retailer has become over the past six decades.

Walmart started off as a small regional player in 1962. But through logistics innovations, competitive pricing, global expansion and strategic acquisitions, it has grown to be the behemoth it is today.

So how does Walmart compare to other retail giants in 2024 when looking at financial metrics, global reach and overall influence? Is it still unquestionably the largest company worldwide? Let’s take a detailed look.

The Rise of a Retail Juggernaut

To appreciate Walmart’s scale today, it helps to understand its rapid growth over the decades:

  • 1962: Sam Walton opens the first Walmart in Rogers, Arkansas
  • 1970: Walmart goes public, with 38 stores and $44 million in sales
  • 1975: The fast-growing retailer reaches 125 stores with $340 million in revenue
  • 1983: Walmart opens its first Sam’s Club warehouse store
  • 1988: With 1,198 stores, Walmart‘s sales have jumped to $15.9 billion
  • 1990: Walmart overtakes Sears to become the nation’s largest retailer in terms of revenue
  • 1991: Opens its first international store in Mexico
  • 1999: Walmart sales cross $100 billion annually
  • 2015: Walmart revenue exceeds $480 billion with over 11,000 stores
  • 2022: Globally, Walmart now has over 10,500 stores, 2.2 million employees, and sales of $573 billion

Several strategic initiatives and innovations powered this staggering growth, including:

  • State-of-the-art logistics infrastructure like distribution centers
  • Leveraging economies of scale in purchasing, transportation
  • Adapting new technologies like UPC barcodes early
  • Expanding to international markets like Mexico, Canada, China
  • Acquiring e-commerce retailers like to boost online presence

Today, we can see Walmart’s dominance reflected clearly in its financial metrics.

Walmart by the Numbers: Key Financial and Operational Metrics

Revenue – Walmart’s net revenue in FY 2022 surged to $573.78 billion. This is well ahead of other retailers like Amazon, Costco, and Target:

Company FY 2022 Revenue
Walmart $573.78 billion
Amazon $485.90 billion
Costco $195.93 billion
Target $106.00 billion

Profit – Despite its thin profit margins, Walmart’s scale means high cumulative profits of $13.54 billion in FY 2022.

Employees – With 2.2 million employees across its stores and warehouses, Walmart is the world’s largest private employer.

Store Count – Walmart has over 10,500 stores spanning multiple formats across 24 countries. This is significantly higher than peer retailers:

Company Number of Stores Countries
Walmart 10,500 24
Kroger 2,800 USA
Costco 830 12

Market Cap – Walmart’s market value is around $365 billion, making it one of the most valuable public companies.

So whether we look at profits, revenue, store count, or workforce size, Walmart has figures that are unmatched by any other retailer.

Walmart Dominates Key Retail Rankings

While not the most valuable public firm, Walmart leads many prestigious retail rankings:

  • Largest company by revenue – With over half a trillion dollars in sales, Walmart tops the Fortune 500 ranking of companies by revenue.

  • Largest employer – As the biggest private employer, Walmart ranks #1 on Forbes list of largest global employers.

  • Most stores worldwide – among retailers, Walmart has the most extensive store network spanning supercenters, grocery outlets and other formats.

  • Most valuable retail brand – Walmart has the #1 most valuable retail brand worldwide as per Kantar’s BrandZ analysis. Its brand value increased 77% since 2020 to $111 billion.

How Does Walmart Maintain Its Market Leadership?

Maintaining dominance at such vast scale is no easy feat, especially with competitive threats emerging in the retail space. But Walmart has some inherent strengths and strategies that allow it to retain pole position:

Everyday Low Price – By leveraging its purchasing might to secure rock-bottom costs from vendors, Walmart provides unmatched savings that appeal strongly to the mass market.

Supply Chain Mastery – Investments in logistics, warehouses, transportation and inventory management ensure Walmart’s costs stay low.

Store Proximity – Walmart’s vast network of stores and warehouses positions it closer than competitors to where everyday families live and shop.

Acquisitions – Walmart has acquired e-commerce players like, Flipkart, Bonobos, and regional grocery chains to boost online presence and expand geographically.

Omnichannel Focus – Options like curbside pickup and delivery for groceries and other goods provide convenience amid the e-commerce boom.

Global Growth – Steady expansion into countries across Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America provides new revenue streams.

With these core advantages and strategies, analysts expect Walmart to retain its lead in the coming years.

How Does Walmart Compare to Top Competitors?

To gauge Walmart’s dominance, it is useful to compare it against top players in the competitive retail space:

Amazon – While growing rapidly, Amazon’s 2021 revenue of $469 billion is still dwarfed by Walmart’s sales. However, Amazon tops on market value at $1.6 trillion vs. Walmart’s $365 billion.

Costco – With just 830 warehouses globally, Costco pulled in $192 billion revenue in 2021, relying on membership fees for profitability. Its lucrative Kirkland brand is no match for Walmart’s brand value.

Target – Target‘s smaller store footprint of 1,934 stores, mostly in the U.S., delivered $106 billion revenue in 2021. Yet this pales in comparison to Walmart’s far wider reach.

Kroger – America’s largest pure-play grocer has 2,726 supermarkets. But its 2021 sales of $137 billion are just a fraction of Walmart’s, limiting its pricing leverage.

Risks and Threats Facing the Retail Juggernaut

Despite being a dominant force, Walmart does face some challenges that could threaten its trajectory if not addressed through strategy:

  • Thin profit margins, especially in competitive markets
  • Pressure from Amazon and other digital disruptors
  • Slowing brick-and-mortar traffic due to the ecommerce shift
  • Failing or underperforming international ventures
  • Compliance issues in overseas markets with different regulations
  • Changing consumer preferences around brand, experience, convenience

However, analysts feel Walmart has the financial might and management experience to mitigate these risks through omni-channel initiatives, prudent market selection, partnerships, and technology-led innovation.

The Outlook for the World’s Largest Retailer

In view of Walmart’s unmatched scale, powerful brand, mastery of logistics, and continued global expansion, it seems likely the retail behemoth will retain pole position over the next decade.

The threat from Amazon is real. Yet Walmart is bolstering its e-commerce arsenal with acquisitions, curbside pickup, delivery, and digital partnerships. Its brick-and-mortar foundation remains strong, especially for grocery retail where scale matters.

Executives acknowledge global retail disruption, but are sharing plans to stay ahead. “Our stores remain a competitive advantage…this will continue to be an important differentiator from online-only retailers,” said CEO Doug McMillon in Walmart’s 2021 annual report.

Barring massive missteps, Walmart seems set to carry its “world’s largest retailer” tag in the foreseeable future. But it must keep innovating and executing strategies to sustain its lead in the face of rising digital threats. With its brand power and operational expertise, most analysts remain confident in Walmart’s ability to do just that.

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