Pop the champagne, because 2016 is soon to be history.
And with that, we are proud to wrap up the year with 16 of the best infographics, charts, and data visualizations that we posted over the course of 2016. Just like in last year’s edition, some of the posts below were handpicked by our staff, while others received notably high amounts of shares, views, and comments from our audience.
If you’re new to Visual Capitalist, this countdown is one of the best ways to get acquainted with what we do. It rounds up our most powerful and intuitive visuals that help to simplify complex concepts in business, technology, and investing. If you like what you see below, don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list or connect with us on Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR), or LinkedIn (LNKD) to get our free content daily.
Below, we count down our top infographics of 2016. But first, a few quick notes:
- Images below are previews for a much larger infographic with an accompanying article
- To view any post in full, click the image or link in the text. All links open in a new tab.
Enjoy the roundup, and wishing you the best in 2017!
– The Visual Capitalist Team
16. The Largest Companies by Market Cap
Is software really eating the world, as Marc Andreessen says? This chart, which shows the largest public companies by market capitalization over the last 15 years, is probably our best proof of technology’s profound impact on the capital markets.
15. Explaining the Surging Demand for Lithium-Ion Batteries
This year, we covered the buzz around the construction of the massive Tesla (TSLA) Gigafactory in depth.
However, for a broader look at electric cars and how emerging battery technologies will impact the world, our five-part Battery Series is a particularly good primer.
14. The Dominance of Google and Facebook in One Chart
Most digital publishers are fighting for an increasingly smaller slice of the pie. The one stat that proves it? Nearly $0.60 of every $1 spent on digital advertising goes to Google (GOOG) Facebook.
13. Visualizing the Size of US National Debt
The U.S. national debt is so massive, that it is difficult to truly comprehend its size. We created this infographic as a part of our popular Money Project, with the aim of putting the debt in context.
12. US Healthcare is a Global Outlier (and Not in a Good Way)
Americans spent more than $3 trillion, or 17.5% of GDP, on healthcare in 2015. Are they getting any bang for their buck?
This chart, which was shared over 34,000 times by our audience on social media, says it is unlikely.
11. Interactive Map: The Flow of International Trade
Explore fascinating data on world trade with this interactive 3D globe. It uniquely groups imports and exports by color, while allowing you to isolate specific countries to see their trade relationships.
10. The 27 Fintech Unicorns, and Where They Were Born
In 2016, the fintech sector took off. This infographic documents the rise of the 27 largest privately-held fintech companies, their valuations, money raised so far, and geographic locations.
9. The Oil Market is Bigger Than All Metal Markets Combined
Ever wonder why the oil industry has so much influence? This was one of our most popular charts of the year – it shows that all metal markets combined don’t even come close to touching the oil market!
8. Currency and the Collapse of the Roman Empire
This infographic on the collapse of the Roman Empire for The Money Project was one of our most illustrative infographics of the year. It explains the role that currency devaluation had in the eventual demise of one of the most famous empires in history.
7. Vancouver Real Estate Mania
This infographic tells the story of how Vancouver lost its affordability… and its mind.
6. The Slow Death of Traditional Media
Digital media will be the largest advertising channel globally by 2019 – even bigger than television. This chart covers the death of traditional media.
For another interesting post on this topic, also check out our chart covering the trials and tribulations of The New York Times in their attempt to double-down on digital.
5. Step by Step: How Elon Musk Built His Empire
At just 45 years of age, Elon Musk has built multiple billion-dollar companies including Tesla Motors, PayPal, SpaceX, and SolarCity. This infographic tells the incredible story of his life, and how he built an impressive and world-changing empire at such a young age.
4. How Much Money Have Humans Created?
Have you ever wondered how much money actually exists out there? This insightful motion graphic for The Money Project looks to compare the world’s money and markets to help answer this question.
It’s a video that every investor should watch, because it gives such great context about the world’s money and markets.
3. These 5 Big Companies Control The World’s Beer
With the completed merger between ABInBev and SABMiller, a new $107 billion megabrewer was created. This now means that there are only five big brewers that control the majority of beer brands around the world, including brands like Budweiser, Coors, Miller, Molson, Corona, Stella Artois, Heineken, Carlsberg, and many more.
2. Are American Consumers Taking on Too Much Debt?
This giant infographic uses the latest data from Equifax to answer a pressing question: are US consumers taking on too much debt?
It dives into the history of consumer debt to create context, but then goes right into the numbers on mortgage debt, student debt, auto loans, credit cards, and more. This is a great primer for anyone looking to understand the world of consumer credit.
1. The Real Story Behind Donald Trump’s Wealth
Five months before the election, we created a motion graphic video for The Money Project that detailed the story on how Donald Trump accumulated his wealth.
We found that most media outlets did not do a great job of telling the whole story around his career, and that they omitted many key facts. We decided to do a fun and data-driven video that looked at the successes and failures of Trump, as well as some context around his family history.
The video has received millions of views so far, and we will even be posting a follow-up video in a couple of weeks time before Trump’s inauguration.