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Key takeaways from reviewing the global website ranking chart

Here’s a quick insight into what we can learn from reviewing the global website ranking chart, including how the pandemic paved the way for some newcomers.

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As more people acquire internet connectivity and companies digitize their products and services, the amount of time we spend online increases dramatically each year. As of the early stages of 2021, a whopping 59.5 percent of the global population are now classified as active internet users, but what impact does that have on the global website rankings?

The top-ranking websites in the world

As you know, we humans have become very adept at leveraging the power of the internet to our benefit. So much so that it seems as if there is a company/website out there for just about any want or need you can imagine. From something funny (and frankly pointless) such as the Republique Des Mangues to global mega-sites like Amazon and Facebook, there’s something for everyone in the estimated 1.8 billion live websites on the internet.

With that said, global website rankings are constantly shifting, with brand-new entries frequently storming their way to the top spots and once-loved sites plummeting into obscurity. Though, each of them tells a tale about where we are as a society and provides insight into our internet consumption and our global culture as a whole.

On that note, let’s look at some of the key takeaways we can deduce from analyzing the global website ranking chart and what it says about the current role of the internet and its primary use cases.

Social media reigns supreme

While it’s certainly no real shock to see the supremacy of social media sites on the global charts, it’s well worth taking stock of just how dominant they have become (and remain). At the time of writing, three of the top ten sites are social media platforms. Call that four if you consider YouTube to be on that list. 

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram occupy positions three through five on the list, which cements their status as the behemoths of the industry, and in many ways, cornerstones of our digital culture. 

One notable newcomer is TikTok, which has witnessed a meteoric rise in popularity in recent years. With 689 million users worldwide and the average user spending 52 minutes per day on their site, TikTok has shot up to number 28 on the chart. It will be interesting to see whether or not its current trajectory will keep pace in the coming years. 

So, what is the secret behind these massive social media site’s success? Well, many people point towards their extraordinarily powerful algorithms that sort users’ feeds based on relevancy instead of publishing time. 

However, this leads to the contentious topic of the wider  social and economic implications of our growing reliance and increased usage of social media. On the one hand, it offers an unparalleled method of communication and interconnectivity between people on all corners of the globe. While on the other hand, many reports link heavy social media usage to increases in depression, anxiety, and cyberbullying.

Amazon is the king of eCommerce 

Let’s face it, 2020 was the year of eCommerce. Thanks to a global pandemic and widespread government restrictions that led to unprecedented levels of social isolation, people worldwide were forced to purchase goods online as all non-essential stores were closed to help prevent the spread of disease.

As a result, online food sales grew by 79%, household goods sales grew by 73.9%, and the industry as a whole enjoyed an incredible 46% growth in 2020 compared to the previous year. So who was the main beneficiary of this? Yep, it was Amazon. No prizes for correct guesses here, sorry.

Offering free delivery on millions of items to its 150 million “prime members,” Amazon finds itself in a comfortable 13th position in the global charts. It seems Mr. Bezos was in the right place at the right time and executed his strategy perfectly, providing a vital lifeline to countless people across the globe in their time of need. That is before he stepped down as CEO to enjoy his $196 billion fortune.

When observing the rankings, one thing that stands out is the sheer lack of competitors in the eCommerce industry. In the top 50, eBay is the only other site that stands to rival Amazon, and you could argue that they both satisfy different needs and operate in separate segments of the market anyway. 

Video prospered in the pandemic

Staying on the topic of the pandemic, several websites have found themselves near the top of the global website ranking charts partly due to the impact of the virus and how it changed our behaviors.

As many people were forced indoors, streaming services such as Netflix (16th) and Amazon Prime saw record years in terms of subscriber growth and viewer count. The popular streaming website Twitch (26th), which primarily focuses on video games, made it into the top thirty for the first time after also enjoying a massive surge in popularity during the last 18 months. This demonstrates how video is quickly becoming a more important part of internet content consumption, although it would be fascinating to see how these websites perform after the pandemic has passed and normalcy has returned.

Out with the old, in with the new?

Peering into the top ranking websites gives us a clear insight into how we are using the astonishing power of the internet and how it influences our daily lives. While there have been many newcomers into the top charts, it’s also worth pointing out some of the key players that remain in these lists even despite their reputation for being “outdated” or sometimes even branded as “failed.”

Websites like MSN (40th), Office.com (20th), Bing.com (30th), and Microsoft (29th) all make it into the top 50, which may come as a surprise to many people, considering how long they have been around and the seemingly “little” innovation some of the websites have gone through. 

One shining example of this is Yahoo, which finds itself in the enviable position of 8th in the global charts. This is certainly surprising, bearing in mind how many people often refer to Yahoo as “dead.” Yet, their traffic statistics say quite the contrary, and the internet pioneer is still in the top 10 after 27 years on the web.

Final word

It remains to be seen whether the companies in the top charts are here to stay, especially after the pandemic had sailed its course. If one thing is for sure, there will undoubtedly be plenty of risers and fallers over the coming years. Can sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon hold on to their top spots, or is there a new player hiding in the shadows waiting for their time to shine? Only time will tell.

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