The Technology Sector Is The Most Valuable Sector In 2023

That’s according to the experts at City Index, who revealed the biggest companies in 1980, 2000 and today by market cap, to establish how the stock markets have changed in the last 40 years. Traders can take a position on the biggest stocks and global indices using spread bets or CFDs with City Index.

Highlights from the research:

  • Apple is the world’s biggest company in 2023 – worth $3.03 trillion, followed by Microsoft ($2.51 trillion)
  • Microsoft was the world’s biggest company in 2000, worth $586 billion (equating to $1.03 trillion in 2023)
  • IBM was the biggest company in 1980, with a market cap of $34.6 billion (equating to $128.12 billion in 2023)
  • The Oil and Gas sector dominated the market throughout the 1980s, however from 2000 onwards, the Technology industry produced the most valuable companies.

The full dataset can be accessed here:

The top 10 biggest companies of today:

RankCompanyIndustryMarket cap (billion USD)
3Saudi AramcoOil & Gas$2,080.00
4Alphabet (Google)Technology$1,520.00
8Berkshire HathawayDiversified$753.13
9Meta (Facebook)Technology$733.11
10Taiwan Semiconductor ManufacturingTechnology$534.98

In an era rife with smartphones and AI, it’s no shock that technology dominates the stock market in 2023, with seven technology companies including Apple, Amazon and Tesla occupying the top 10. 

City Index can reveal that Apple is the most valuable company in history, having a market cap of $3.03 trillion. Apple was founded in 1976 and went public in 1980. Only in 2011 did it become the world’s most valuable company for the first time, with a value of $350 billion. It replaced ExxonMobil at the top. It was the biggest company in the world for most of the 2010s, and in 2018 became the first US company to surpass $1 trillion in value. It then surpassed $2 trillion two years later.

Microsoft is the second-biggest company in 2023, with a market cap of $2.51 trillion, thanks to its market-leading Microsoft Azure cloud computing services and its stake in OpenAI. However, the products that saw it dominate in 2000 – including Windows and Office – are still a big part of its revenues. Microsoft was also the world’s most valuable company in 2000, adjusted for inflation, it is worth over 3 times that today ($2.51 trillion).

The biggest companies in 2000:

RankCompanyIndustryMarket cap (billion USD)Market cap (inflation adj.)
2General ElectricDiversified$477.00$844.29
5Exxon MobilOil & Gas$260.00$460.20
7NTT DocomoTelecommunications$246.00$435.42
8Royal Dutch ShellOil & Gas$203.00$359.31

Much like today, Technology companies had prominence on the stock market in 2000. Companies like Microsoft, Cisco and Intel occupied half of the top 10, compared to only one (IBM) 20 years earlier. Only two Oil & Gas companies were in the top 10 in 2000, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell.

In 2000, Microsoft was top of the stock market, worth $586 billion ($1.03 trillion today) however, it was badly affected by the dot-com crash. By March 2001, its value had dropped to $258 billion, less than half of its peak. This was partly due to the ruling of the United States vs. Microsoft case, in which MSFT was found guilty of monopolisation.1

However, in 2003, it became the biggest company in the world again, and the biggest tech company in the world up until Apple’s rise in the early 2010s.

The biggest companies in 1980:

RankCompanyIndustryMarket cap (billion USD)Market cap (inflation adj.)
3ExxonOil & Gas$32.90$121.83
4Standard OilOil & Gas$20.50$75.91
5ShellOil & Gas$19.70$72.95
6MobilOil & Gas$19.20$71.10
7General MotorsAutomotive$18.90$69.99
8TexacoOil & Gas$18.80$69.62
10Gulf OilOil & Gas$15.10$55.92

The top companies 40 years ago look vastly different from those of 2000 and today, despite being full of recognisable names. In 1980, Technology companies hadn’t yet dominated the stock market, instead, the Oil and Gas sector was a key force, with six Oil and Gas companies occupying the top 10.

Despite this, IBM was the world’s biggest company in 1980, with a market cap of $34.6 billion ($128.12 billion today). However, IBM was facing serious competition in the personal and business computing sector at the time. New entrants to the market challenged its crown, and by 1981 it was no longer at the top of the stock markets.

By the mid-1980s, ‘Big Blue’ was dominant once more. It has underperformed the wider market, though, with a value of $130 billion today roughly matching its cap in 1980 when adjusted for inflation.

Remember, traders can go long or short on the biggest stocks and global indices using spread bets or CFDs with City Index.

Thanks to for this data!


  1. City Index sought to establish the most valuable companies from 1980, 2000 and 2023.
  2. They gathered historical data, compiling information on the top 10 companies for each year.
  3. Market cap/Revenue per company for each year was obtained or inferred in accordance with historical data either from their own archives or from readily available archives.
  4. Market cap values were cross-referenced and changed when needed in accordance with multiple readily available sources.
  5. Analysis was conducted on the top companies of each year to assess their performance and determine the factors contributing to their sustained dominance. Sources and reasons can be found in individual sheets in the data.
  6. Data is correct as of 21st August 2023 and is subject to change.


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