Over the past five years, the BCG Henderson Institute has partnered with Fortune to publish a vitality index that assesses the long-term growth prospects of the world’s largest publicly traded companies based on indicators and signals of their future potential, stripping out current performance. The index combines a top-down, market-based assessment of a company’s potential with a bottom-up analysis of its capacity to deliver growth.
The Future 50 companies have consistently outperformed the market since 2018. And in 2020 and 2021, they proved that vitality goes hand in hand with resilience: since the COVID shock in late February 2020, total shareholder return for the 2020 Future 50 companies has been more than 2.4 times that of the S&P 500.
The 2021 Future 50 companies reflect some of the most salient shifts in the business environment, including those triggered by the COVID pandemic. Technology companies continue to dominate the index, with a strong presence of digital teaming and collaboration businesses as well as cybersecurity and enterprise cloud solutions. The most vital companies remain concentrated in North America and China, with the latter growing its share of the top 50. Yet the expanded list of the top 200 most vital companies demonstrates that vitality is possible in all regions and across a range of industries.