10 Biggest Industries in the World in 2021

In this article, we are going to list the 10 Biggest Industries in the World in 2021. Click to skip our analysis of the global industry trends, jump to the 5 Biggest Industries in the World in 2021.

The biggest industries in the world run the economy and create billions of jobs worldwide. In the past decade, we witnessed how the economy grew by the advancements in various industries especially technology, science and health, and manufacturing. As spending and wealth grows globally, the existing industries are expanding, while many are going extinct amid the swift evolution of the human society. The tech revolution has also create several new industries.

The Global Economy

In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic which did not only brought health crisis to millions of people who were infected by the virus but also pushed every nation into a pit of a financial crisis. Amid the coronavirus crisis, global unemployment surged to 6.47% in 2020 according to the International Labor Organization (ILO). In a report published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the world’s GDP was expected to contract by 8% in 2020. And this economic uncertainty has affected almost every country in the world. The US was not exempted from the economic recession brought by the coronavirus. According to a Statista report, the US accounted for 15.98% of the world’s GDP in 2020. But in the first quarter of 2020, the US GDP fell 5% based on an estimate of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). 

biggest industries in the world


Although the global economy is growing at a slower rate than the pre-pandemic period, it is projected to grow 5.5% in 2021 according to IMF. Major economies with access to the vaccine and medical interventions are projected to grow including the US (5%), China (8.1%), and India (11.5%). These leading countries have been resilient during the pandemic recession as some of the biggest industries in each nation primarily technology have thrived despite economic distress.

How COVID-19 Affected Economic Industries

The world was clueless on how to combat the coronavirus. As days went by without medical intervention, the major industries and businesses suffered. One of the most negatively impacted industries during the pandemic was the airline industry where Boeing (NYSE: BA) recorded a total net loss of $11.9 billion in 2020. Other sectors that experienced massive losses include casinos, restaurants, bars, cinemas and the broader services industry.

One of the key industries in the world is the tech industry, whose importance was brought to the limelight by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a Deloitte industry outlook, the revenue of the global public cloud service, one of the fastest-growing branches of technology, is projected to reach $308 billion by 2021 and $354.6 billion by 2022. Artificial intelligence revenues on the other hand are expected to reach $100 billion in 2021. 

The Biggest Industries in the World in 2021

The biggest industries in the world are the ones providing essential products and services to improve the life of billions of people around the world. To give you the most accurate insights about the 10 biggest industries in the world in 2021, we ranked each industry by its market value. We also included the biggest companies under the biggest industries in the world in 2021 to highlight the potential of the market of a certain industry.

Now let’s take a look at the 10 biggest industries in the world in 2021 starting from number 10.

10. Telecommunication

Market value: $1.74 trillion

One of the biggest industries in the world in 2021 is telecommunications. The rise of work-from-home trends and in-house entertainment have resulted in a surge in data traffic. The industry is the lifeline for millions of small businesses and individuals working remotely or online. The trillion-dollar industry is driven by the increasing demand for 5g network and internet services. 

In 2020, T-Mobile US (NASDAQ: TMUS) achieved $68 billion in total revenue, up from $45 billion in 2019. The Washington-based wireless giant launched its nationwide 5g network in 2020. On the other hand, AT&T (NYSE: T) is the largest telco in the US accounting for approximately 40% of the market. The company’s revenue in 2020 was $171.8 billion.



9. Automobile Manufacturing

Market value: $3 trillion

Ranking 9th on the list of the 10 biggest industries in the world in 2021 is automotive manufacturing. The year 2020 was horrible for the auto industry due to manufacturing restrictions. According to new data from Inovev, global automotive manufacturing dropped by 21% in the first ten months of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, compared to the same period in 2019. On the other hand, electric vehicles (EVs) are gaining demand in the European Union as government offers cash incentives. In Germany, privately-held EVs registered before the end of 2020 will be eligible for a 10-year tax exemption, while EVs with an original cost under €40,000 will be entitled to a €9,000 subsidy until December 2021. Electric vehicle purchasers in France could be eligible for up to €12,000 in subsidies.

Automotive maker Ford Motor Co (NYSE: F) is one of the largest car manufacturers in the world which plans to dominate the rising EV market in the EU among other automakers such as Volkswagen and BMW. In February 2021, Ford was able to deliver over 3,700 units of its all-electric SUV Mustang Mach-E across the US. Ford’s revenue in 2020 came in at $127 billion, down from $155.9 billion in 2019. Shares of F increased by 182% over the last twelve months. 


8. Oil and Gas E&P

Market value: $4.6 trillion

The global oil and gas exploration and production industry account for 3.8% of global GDP in 2019, which is a significant portion of the global economy. Companies that specialize in crude petroleum exploration, mining and extraction of oil from shale or sands and hydrocarbon liquids recovery make up this sector. The oil industry was heavily impacted by the pandemic where the price of crude oil crashed in 2020. 

Saudi Aramco, the most valuable oil and gas company in the world, was not safe from the impacts of COVID-19. Due to stifled demand and a decline in crude prices, the oil giant posted a net income of $11.8 billion in the third quarter of 2020, a sharp decrease of 44% from the previous year. 

ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) had a revenue of $20 billion in the upstream sector in 2020. XOM’s oil and gas business faces uncertainty with the volatility of the market. But the company commercialized its carbon capture and storage technology, ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions, intending to achieve zero net emissions. Shares of XOM increased by 79.2% over the past twelve months. 


7. Food Industry

Market value: $5 trillion

Ranking 7th on our list of the biggest industries in the world in 2021 is food and agriculture.  The world saw a huge uptick in food spending through online channels after the COVID-19 crisis. American food company Tyson Foods Inc (NYSE: TSN) which offers chicken, beef, pork, and frozen meals had a revenue of $10.5 billion in the first quarter of 2021, down from $10.8 billion in 2020. Shares of TSN increased by 72.8% over the past twelve months.

While Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE: UBER) is not a food manufacturer, we listed the company under the food sector because of UBER’s strong food delivery business. Uber Eats is now larger than the primary ride-hailing service of the company with delivery gross bookings of $10 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020. Shares of UBER jumped by 280% over the past twelve months. 

Most Consumed Products in the World

Nejron Photo/Shutterstock.com


6. Information Technology

Market value: $5 trillion

Ranking 6th on the list of the biggest industries in the world in 2021 is the information technology sector. The information technology sector has helped businesses survive the pandemic recession. According to the research firm IDC, the global information technology industry is set to hit $5.2 trillion in 2020. The emerging tech sectors including the Internet of Things, quantum computing, SaaS and PaaS, robotics, augmented/virtual reality, AI applications, data analytics, and next-gen security software are the main drivers for revenue growth. Cloud computing landed the most applied branch of technology during the pandemic. 

According to Markets and Markets’ in-depth market research, the global cloud computing industry was valued at $371 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.5% to $832 billion by 2025. The biggest cloud computing players are Microsoft Azure (NASDAQ: MSFT), AWS (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Google Cloud Platform (NASDAQ: GOOG). Microsoft is the most valuable cloud computing company in the world. In the second quarter of 2021, the company had revenue of $43 billion where revenue in the cloud business alone was $14.6 billion. Shares of MSFT increased by 68.8% over the past twelve months.

Click to continue reading and see the 5 biggest industries in the world in 2021.

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Disclosure: None. 10 Biggest Industries in the World in 2021 is originally published at Insider Monkey.