The biggest companies in the world only got bigger in 2021.
Over the past year, Apple and Microsoft got within arms reach of a $3 trillion market cap, while Tesla and Facebook parent company Meta both reached the $1 trillion milestone for the first time. A company's market cap is total value of all the shares of a company's stock.
Of the six biggest companies in the world, all but Saudi Aramco are American tech firms, and all are worth more than $1 trillion.
"Tech companies getting into the $1 trillion club is almost viewed like a cup of coffee in Silicon Valley now," Dan Ives, a tech analyst at Wedbush Securities, tells CNBC Make It. "It's not the mega event that it was just two or three years ago. It shows that Big Tech is in an unmatched position coming out of the pandemic."
Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, Tesla and Facebook added a combined $2.9 trillion to their collective market caps in 2021 as of Dec. 23, according to data from Factset. Here's how it breaks down, from biggest market cap to smallest.
- Start of year market cap: $2.2 trillion
- Market cap as of 12/23: $2.9 trillion
Despite myriad supply chain issues disrupting production of essential products like the iPhone, and the company only passing the $2 trillion market cap threshold in August 2020, Apple spent 2021 on a steady march toward a $3 trillion market cap. The stock's 30% growth this year added $659.8 billion to its market cap. Apple remains the most valuable company in the world by roughly $400 billion.
- Start of year market cap: $1.7 trillion
- Market cap as of 12/23: $2.5 trillion
The Bill Gates-founded tech company has had a stellar past few years as it's increased its focus on cloud technology. In 2021 alone, shares of Microsoft soared 50%.
The company's market cap crossed the $2 trillion threshold for the first time in June, and it is threatening to outpace Apple to become the first company to be worth $3 trillion.
- Start of year market cap: $1.2 trillion
- Market cap as of 12/23: $2 trillion
Google's parent company hit a $2 trillion valuation in early November, less than two years after it passed the $1 trillion mark in January 2020. The stock increased 65% this year, with Alphabet reporting a 43% increase in advertising revenue in its last earnings report and handily beating analyst estimates for profitability. The stock's performance was buoyed by consumer reliance on Google's digital products and services throughout the pandemic, and it was recently crowned Big Tech stock of the year by CNBC.
- Start of year market cap: $1.6 trillion
- Market cap as of 12/23: $1.7 trillion
Amazon shares have been on a rollercoaster ride in 2021, climbing as much as 17% this summer from where they were at the start of the year before settling to a more modest 6% gain. Though the company is grappling with slowing sales growth as shoppers go back to stores and supply chain issues constrain the availability of some items, Amazon still reported $110.8 billion in revenue last quarter.
Amazon's most recent quarter also saw revenue from Amazon Web Services, advertising and Prime subscriptions surpass its retail sales for the first time ever.
- Start of year market cap: $677.4 billion
- Market cap as of 12/23: $1.1 trillion
Tesla followed up its eye-popping 2020 stock performance — which saw its stock grow more than fivefold to become one of the hottest names on Wall Street and make CEO Elon Musk the richest person in the world — with a strong 2021. Shares grew 46% this year, and Tesla passed the $1 trillion market cap for the first time.
For context, Tesla only surpassed Toyota, the world's now-No.2 most valuable automaker, in July 2020, when it was worth a comparatively meager $206 billion.
- Start of year market cap: $778.2 billion
- Market cap as of 12/23: $932.6 billion
Though it is currently shy of the mark, Facebook also entered the $1 trillion club earlier this year. The company's tumultuous year — which included a whistleblower leaking tens of thousands of internal documents — hardly put a damper on the stock price.
"Despite the noise, Facebook's monetization of its billions of users continues to happen at a feverish pace," Ives says. The company is currently focusing on improving its Reels feature, which competes directly with TikTok.