How Do Big Tech Giants Make Their Billions? – Visual Capitalist

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A Breakdown of Big Tech Revenue Streams

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In 2021, the Big Five tech giants—Apple, Amazon, Google (Alphabet), Meta, and Microsoft—generated a combined $1.4 trillion in revenue.
What are the sources of this revenue, and how does it breakdown?
Below, we’ll dive into the main ways that these big tech giants generate revenue, and take a look at how much their revenues have increased in recent years.
As we’ve mentioned in previous editions of this graphic, there are two main ways that big tech companies generate revenue:
Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon fall into the first category—like most traditional businesses, these companies offer customers a physical (or digital) product in exchange for money. More than half of Apple’s revenue comes from iPhone sales, Azure cloud services generate almost a third of Microsoft’s total, and Amazon’s online stores account for nearly 50% of the company’s revenue.
On the other hand, Meta and Alphabet do things a bit differently. Rather than selling an actual product, these two tech giants make most of their money by selling their audience’s attention. Nearly 98% of Meta’s revenue comes from Facebook ads, and 81% of Google’s revenue comes from advertising on various Google products.
However, despite their varying ways of generating sales, these companies all have one thing in common: revenues have soared in recent years.
Amidst rising unemployment and pandemic-induced chaos, the Big Five still managed to see a significant revenue uptick.
In 2019 (pre-pandemic), big tech’s combined revenue grew by 12%. The following year, throughout the onset of the global pandemic and the various economic challenges that came with it, big tech still increased its combined revenue by 19%.
And in the 2021 fiscal year, big tech saw a 27% growth in combined revenue, year-over-year.
How did these companies continue to thrive throughout economic turmoil and global chaos? It was made possible because the societal changes triggered by COVID-19 ended up driving demand for big tech’s products and services.
For example, lockdown restrictions forced people to shop online, causing e-commerce sales to escalate. Demand for laptops and cloud-based services grew as offices shut down and companies pivoted to fully remote workspaces.
These days, COVID-19 restrictions have eased in most countries, and the world has slowly returned to normalcy.
But that doesn’t mean growth for big tech will stop. In fact, the pandemic-induced changes to our work and shopping habits will likely stick around, meaning the increased demand for big tech’s offerings could be here to stay.
Two-thirds of employees from a global survey said their company would likely make remote work a permanent option. And global e-commerce sales are expected to grow steadily over the next few years to reach $7 trillion by 2025.
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The parameter used to measure phone radiation emissions is the SAR value. Here we visualize the SAR values of some popular smartphones.
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Smartphones have become an integral part of our everyday lives. From work and school to daily tasks, these handheld devices have brought everything into the palm of our hands.
Most people spend 5-6 hours on their phones each day. And, given that our phones emit a tiny amount of radiation, we’re exposing ourselves to radiation for hours each day.
But different phones emit different amounts of radiation.
With the help of data collected by the German Federal Office of Radiation Protection, we visualize the radiation emissions of some popular smartphones in the market today.
Smartphones and other mobile devices emit tiny amounts of radiofrequency (RF) radiation. Humans can absorb this radiation when the smartphone is being used or is lying dormant anywhere near their bodies.
The parameter used to measure phone radiation emissions is the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). It is the unit of measurement that represents the quantity of electromagnetic energy absorbed by the body when using a mobile device.
The Council of the European Union has set radiation standards for cell phones at 2 watts per kilogram, measured over the 10 grams of tissue that is absorbing the most signal.
SAR values are calculated at the ear (speaking on the phone) and at the body (kept in your pocket). For the purposes of this article, we’ve used the former calculations.
The Motorola Edge has the highest radiation emission with a SAR value of 1.79 watts of radiation per kilogram. That’s significantly higher than most other smartphone models in the market today and close to the limits set by the EU for cellphones.
Coming in second is the Axon 11 5G by ZTE with 1.59, followed by the OnePlus 6T at a close third with 1.55 W/kg. The Sony Experia AX2 Plus with 1.41 and the Google Pixel 3 XL and 3A XL at 1.39 round out the top five.
Here is a look at the 10 smartphones that emit the highest level of radiation:
Smartphones with the lowest level of radiation
Now that we have detailed the worst offenders let’s look at the smartphones with the lowest levels of radiation emissions.
The smartphone with the lowest SAR value is the ZTE Blade V10, with 0.13 watts of radiation per kilogram.
Mobile devices by Samsung carry some of the least radiation risks. The company has four phones considered to be the best in the category. The Galaxy Note 10+ is the best model in their line-up, emitting a meager 0.19 watts per kilogram.
Here is a look at the 10 smartphones that emit the lowest levels of radiation:
Smartphones with the highest level of radiation
There is currently no significant research proving the harmful effects of phone radiation.
Despite this, people who are in contact with their devices for extended periods can at least quantify their radiation exposure and make choices about which brands serve their needs.
Cryptocurrencies had a breakout year in 2021, providing plenty of volatility and strong returns across crypto’s various sectors.
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2021 saw the crypto markets boom and mature, with different sectors flourishing and largely outperforming the market leader, bitcoin.
While bitcoin only managed to return 59.8% last year, the crypto sector’s total market cap grew by 187.5%, with many of the top coins offering four and even five-digit percentage returns.
Last year wasn’t just a breakout year for crypto in terms of returns, but also the growing infrastructure’s maturity and resulting decorrelation of individual crypto industries and coins.
Crypto’s infrastructure has developed significantly, and there are now many more onramps for people to buy altcoins that don’t require purchasing and using bitcoin in the process. As a result, many cryptocurrency prices were more dictated by the value and functionality of their protocol and applications rather than their correlation to bitcoin.
Sources: TradingView, Binance, Uniswap, FTX, Bittrex
Bitcoin wasn’t the only cryptocurrency that didn’t manage to reach triple-digit returns in 2021. Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash also provided meagre double-digit percentage returns, as payment-focused cryptocurrencies were largely ignored for projects with smart contract capabilities.
Other older projects like Stellar Lumens (109%) and XRP (278%) provided triple-digit returns, with Cardano (621%) being the best performer of the old guard despite not managing to ship its smart contract functionality last year.
Ethereum greatly outpaced bitcoin in 2021, returning 399.2% as the popularity boom of NFTs and creation of DeFi 2.0 protocols like Olympus (OHM) expanded possible use-cases.
But with the rise of network activity, a 50% increase in transfers in 2021, Ethereum gas fees surged. From minimums of $20 for a single transaction, to NFT mint prices starting around $40 and going into the hundreds on congested network days, crypto’s retail crowd migrated to other smart contract platforms with lower fees.
Alternative budding smart contract platforms like Solana (11,178%), Avalanche (3,335%), and Fantom (13,207%) all had 4-5 digit percentage returns, as these protocols built out their own decentralized finance ecosystems and NFT markets.
With Ethereum set to merge onto the beacon chain this year, which uses proof of stake instead of proof of work, we’ll see if 2022 brings lower gas fees and retail’s return to Ethereum if the merge is successful.
While many new cryptocurrencies with strong functionality and unique use-cases were rewarded with strong returns, it was memes that powered the greatest returns in cryptocurrencies this past year.
Dogecoin’s surge after Elon Musk’s “adoption” saw many other dog coins follow, with SHIB benefitting the most and returning an astounding 19.85 million percent.
But ever since Dogecoin’s run from $0.07 to a high of $0.74 in Q2 of last year, the original meme coin’s price has slowly bled -77% down to $0.17 at the time of writing. After the roller coaster ride of last year, 2022 started with a positive catalyst for Dogecoin holders as Elon Musk announced DOGE can be used to purchase Tesla merchandise.
The intersection between crypto, games, and the metaverse became more than just a pipe dream in 2021. Axie Infinity was the first crypto native game to successfully establish a play to earn structure that combines its native token (AXS) and in-game NFTs, becoming a sensation and source of income for many in the Philippines.
Other crypto gaming projects like Defi Kingdoms are putting recognizable game interfaces on decentralized finance applications, with the decentralized exchange becoming the town’s “marketplace” and yield farms being the “gardens” where yield is harvested. This fantasy aesthetic is more than just a new coat of paint, as the project with $1.04B of total value locked is developing an underlying play-to-earn game.
Along with gamification, 2021 saw crypto native and non-crypto developers put a big emphasis on the digital worlds or metaverses users will inhabit. Facebook’s name change to Meta resulted in the two prominent metaverse projects The Sandbox (SAND) and Decentraland (MANA) surge another few hundred percent to finish off the year at 16,261% and 4,104% returns respectively.
With so many eyes on the crypto sector after the 2021’s breakout year, we’ll see how developing U.S. regulation and changing macro conditions affect cryptocurrencies in 2022.
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