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S&P 500 Global Sales Get insight into where large-cap American companies are selling their goods and services.
BY Howard Silverblatt


• In 2016, the percentage of S&P 500 sales from foreign countries decreased for the second year in a row, after increasing for three consecutive years. The overall rate for 2016 was 43.2%, down from 44.3% in 2015 and 47.8% in 2014, which was at least an 11-year record high; the 43.2% rate in 2016 was the lowest since the 41.8% posted in 2003. S&P 500 foreign sales represent products and services produced and sold outside of the U.S.

• Sales in Asia increased after their 2015 decline, as Asia became the dominant region, accounting for 8.46% of all S&P 500 sales, up from 2015’s 6.77% and 2014’s 7.80%.

• European sales continued to increase, but their gain was outpaced by Asia, as it fell to second place for the highest regional sales. For 2016, European sales increased to 8.13% from 2015’s 7.79% and 2014’s 7.46%. The UK (which is part of European sales) declined to 1.10% after last year’s increase to 1.86%; sales in the region were at 0.89% in 2014, 1.12% in 2013, 1.73% in 2012, and 2.39% in 2011.

• Japanese sales increased to 1.52% of all S&P 500 sales from 2015’s 1.15%, and Mexican sales declined to 0.12% from 0.26% in 2015. Sales to Canada rebounded to 2.67% in 2016, after declining significantly to 1.17% in 2015 from 3.51% in 2014; oil-related sales were seen as a contributing factor.

• Energy maintained the title it took last year of leader in exposure to foreign sales, as its domestic sales fell. The sector reported 58.88% of its sales as foreign, up from 2015’s 57.88% and 2014’s 56.23%. Information technology’s exposure declined to 57.15% in 2016 from the previous year’s 57.78%, both of which were a tick below energy’s; in 2014 the sector posted 59.39% in foreign sales. In terms of its sector-level representation of total sales, consumer staples represented 18.49% of all foreign sales, up from 14.08% in 2015, as it overtook information technology, which accounted for 16.48% of all sales, down from 2015’s leading position of 21.93%.

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