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The 2016 Web Globalization Report Card

From Amazon to Walmart, from Audi to VW, from Apple to Xiaomi — The 2016 Web Globalization Report Card ranks the best global (and mobile) websites.

The 2024 Report Card is now available!

Want multiple reports and underlying data? We now offer the Web Globalization Report Card library

Learn from the best global websites

Web globalization often leaves people with more questions than answers, such as:

  • What languages should we support?
  • What are the best mobile—and global—websites that we should be studying?
  • How is our website doing compared with our competitors—and why?
  • How should we manage global and social navigation across country/region websites?
  • What common mistakes are companies making with their global websites?
  • How do we best implement geolocation to improve the global user experience?
  • What emerging trends should we be aware of?
  • And what common mistakes can and should my company avoid?

This report, now in its 12th edition, answers these questions and many more. You’ll learn which companies have improved their global and mobile websites — and why. Through website profiles, loaded with screen shots, you'll learn which practices to emulate and which to avoid. More than a dozen industries are profiled, with key globalization developments and best practices highlighted with screen shots.

Mobile globalization best practices

Most of the websites included in this report are mobile friendly.But few are as mobile friendly as they could be.

For starters, a significant number of companies may support mobile-friendly websites for their core markets but still support legacy desktop-only websites for the rest of their country/region websites. And while desktop-oriented websites have over the years greatly improved in making the global gateway easy to find, mobile websites generally do the opposite — hiding the global gateway, if they make one available at all. More troublesome, most websites were built under the assumption that mobile users have access to 4G networks, which many do not. Most of the world still relies on 3G (or slower) mobile networks.

150 global websites benchmarked

This year, like years before, we benchmarked 150 websites across more than a dozen industry categories. These websites comprise 80% of the companies on the Interbrand Best Global Brands 2015 list and more than 30% of the Fortune 100, ensuring a broad reach of global brands and businesses.

How to use the Web Globalization Report Card

This report serves two purposes. First, it calls attention to those websites that have excelled in the practice of web globalization. The companies that have made the top 25 did not get there by chance. The people who have helped raise their websites onto the top 25 list deserve recognition for helping their companies communicate effectively with the world, regardless of language, culture, or geography. Second, this report identifies emerging trends (both positive and negative) to help you avoid the painful missteps that others have already taken. This report is designed to help you guide your web, marketing, and mobile teams to positive, efficient action.

Never before have companies been expected to support so much content across so many languages and across so many devices. And while this continues to be a very exciting time to be involved in web globalization, it’s also quite challenging.

More than a decade of web globalization research

Founded in 2000, Byte Level Research was the first firm dedicated exclusively to the art and science of web globalization. We have consulted with hundreds of multinationals and have learned what works and what doesn't work and, just as important, where their websites are headed. This expertise is carried over into the methodology of the Report Card, the first report dedicated to best practices in web globalization.

We conduct a hands-on analysis of the world's leading websites, analyzing how web designs are shared across countries and mobile platforms, noting languages used on every website, studying local content, social media, and navigation. This information, along with nearly a decade of historical data, will help you benchmark your company against competitive and “best of breed” sites such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Hotels.com. A combination of quantitative data and practical, hands-on advice make this report an invaluable resource for any company doing business across borders.

Who this report is for:

  • Marketing executives use this report to improve the effectiveness and usability of their global websites. The numerous screen shots included in the report clearly illustrate trends and best practices. The report points out flaws in many of the world's most popular websites — and, more important, makes clear suggestions for improvement.
  • Web and IT executives use this report to learn best practices and drive changes within their companies based on concrete data. For example, knowing exactly which companies are now using geolocation can help raise awareness and get management buy-in. No other report will tell you exactly which companies are using geolocation right now and which companies are using language detection.
  • Web design firms and advertising agencies rely on this report to upgrade their web globalization skills. This report's accessibility and its wide range of real-world examples makes complex concepts more easily understood.

News & Announcements

  • Your Website Should Support a Lot More Languages Than You Think It Should
  • The Top 25 Global Websites
  • Google Translate: Ten Years Later
  • Adobe: The best global consumer technology website of 2016
  • American Express: The best global financial services website of 2016
  • Is your website losing the language race?
  • Companies that rely on the Report Card

    • Adobe
    • Cisco
    • FedEx
    • Starwood
    • Philips

    Purchase Details

    The 2016 Web Globalization Report Card
    Pages: 280
    Exhibits & Visuals: 100+
    Format: PDF
    License: Enterprise

    Companies that have purchased the Report Card over the years

    Thomson Reuters

    The Top 25 Global Websites

    Google is the only company to score above 90 points, retaining the top spot for another year. Facebook continues to add languages, though at a slower pace; it now supports 88 languages.

    Wikipedia is far and away the language leader, with content in more than 270 languages. The company also now supports a mobile-friendly layout that is considerably lighter (in kilobytes) than most Fortune 100 mobile websites.

    Hotels.com and Booking.com remain closely matched in both languages and global gateway strategies. Both websites are worth studying for how they balance global gateways and ecommerce — allowing users to select not only their locale but also their currency.

    Nike made this list for the first time, having added languages and improving global consistency and navigation.

    As a group, the top 25 websites support an average of 52 languages

    Pages from the Report Card

    Table of Contents

    Part I: Mobile Changes Everything

    Part II: Language Leaders and Trends

    Part III: Notable Trends & Best Practices

    Part IV: The Websites and How They Were Scored

    Part V: Website Scores
    • All website scores
    • Global navigation leaders
    • Country codes
    • Icons improve usability
    • Wave flags with caution
    • Language identification remains (unfortunately) a niche technology
    • Geolocation
    • Leaders in global consistency

    Part VI: Website Highlights by Industry

    Return to Top

    Companies that have purchased the Report Card over the years

    Thomson Reuters

    Websites Included

  • 3M
  • ABB
  • Accenture
  • Adidas
  • Adobe
  • Air France
  • Airbnb
  • Allianz
  • Amazon
  • American Airlines
  • American Express
  • Apple
  • Audi
  • Autodesk
  • Avis
  • Avon
  • Axa
  • Bayer
  • BBC
  • BMW
  • Booking.com
  • British Airways
  • Budweiser
  • Burberry
  • Canon
  • CapGemini
  • Cartier
  • Caterpillar
  • Chevrolet
  • Cisco Systems
  • Citibank
  • Coca-Cola
  • Dell
  • Deloitte
  • Delta
  • DHL
  • Disney
  • Dyson
  • eBay
  • Eli Lilly
  • EMC
  • Emirates
  • Enterprise
  • Ernst & Young
  • Expedia
  • Facebook
  • FedEx
  • Ford
  • Four Seasons
  • GE
  • Gillette
  • Google
  • Gucci
  • H&M
  • Heineken
  • Hermès
  • Hertz
  • Hilton
  • Hitachi
  • Honda
  • Honeywell
  • Hotels.com
  • HP
  • HSBC
  • HTC
  • Huawei
  • Hyatt
  • Hyundai
  • IBM
  • IKEA
  • Intel
  • InterContinental Hotels
  • Jack Daniel's
  • Janssen/J&J
  • John Deere
  • Kayak
  • Khan Academy
  • Kleenex
  • KLM
  • KPMG
  • Land Rover
  • Lego
  • Lenovo
  • Lexus
  • LG
  • Loréal
  • Louis Vuitton
  • LUSH
  • Marriott
  • Marsh
  • MasterCard
  • McDonald's
  • Mercedes
  • Merck
  • Microsoft
  • Mini
  • Moët & Chandon
  • MTV
  • MUJI
  • Nestlé
  • Nike
  • Nikon
  • Nissan
  • Oracle
  • Pampers
  • Panasonic
  • PayPal
  • Pepsi
  • Pfizer
  • Philips
  • Procter & Gamble
  • PWC
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Reebok
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Samsung
  • Sanofi
  • SAP
  • Siemens
  • Sixt
  • Smirnoff
  • Sony
  • Starbucks
  • Starwood Hotels
  • Steelcase
  • Texas Instruments
  • Thomson Reuters
  • Tiffany
  • TNT
  • Toshiba
  • Toyota
  • TripAdvisor
  • Twitter
  • Uber
  • United Airlines
  • UPS
  • Visa
  • VMware
  • VOA News
  • Volkswagen
  • Walmart
  • Western Union
  • Wikipedia
  • World Bank
  • Xerox
  • Xiaomi
  • Yahoo!
  • Zara
  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Who analyzes these websites?

    Report author John Yunker reviews every website — and has done so for all 12 editions of the report. No work is outsourced. This historical understanding of each website (combined with one-on-one interviews with many of the executives who manage these global websites) provides valuable and actionable findings and recommendations.

    How do you select companies for your list?

    We survey a wide swath of global companies across all major industries to provide a well-rounded overview of the state of web globalization. Within each industry, we include the leading companies with a focus on brand leadership. We include more than 30% of the Fortune 100 companies and 80% of the 2015 Interbrand 100 Best Global Brands.

    What’s the value of comparing companies across different industries?

    Web globalization best practices may emerge in any industry. By keeping a broad focus on all major industries, we are able to point executives to those companies and industries that are doing the best job of presenting themselves to the world. Every company included does have peers by which it can be evaluated. In the end, our goal is to provide a truly global perspective on which companies and industries are the most active and successful in web globalization. Only through casting a wide net do we achieve this goal.

    What companies purchase this report?

    Many of the companies benchmarked within this report have purchased the report for multiple years. Purchasers include Cisco Systems, Deloitte, Panasonic, FedEx, Philips, The World Bank, and Yahoo! There are companies not included in this report that also use it regularly, such as global consulting and IT firms and various government agencies.

    Do companies pay to be included in this report?

    Absolutely not. We have never and will never accept money in return for inclusion within the report. Some of our consulting clients over the years have been included in one or more reports and we have used our methodology to help drive positive change within these organizations. That said, we take pride in creating a report that is self-funded and completely independent in focus, content, and findings.

    Scoring Methodology

    The Report Card analyzes each website according to the following four criteria:

    • Global Reach (Languages): The website supports enough languages to reach a wide global audience. To receive a maximum score, the website must support 47 languages.
    • Global Navigation: Web users can quickly and easily find their localized content, regardless of what language they speak.
    • Global/Mobile Architecture: The website leverages global templates to support global branding while still allowing room for local customization. The website is also accessible via mobile devices, and language parity is maintained with the PC website. Responsive websites and mobile apps are also noted.
    • Localization & Social: The website is relevant to the user's locale and culture and provides functionality on par with the global website. Local-language social media are also supported and well promoted on the local websites.

    Optional Conference Call

    A call to answer questions and provide custom website analysis

    Author John Yunker will share key findings from the report and, if your company is included in the report, will share in-depth recommendations. If your company is not included in the report, he will review your website during the call, pointing out best practices and room for improvement. Every phone call is customized to the client's needs and may cover topics such as:

    • Insights into web globalization workflow and staffing best practices
    • Questions to ask before selecting a localization vendor, CMS platform, or design firm
    • Emerging globalization trends within specific industry sectors, including languages, commerce, and cultural customization.

    Onsite presentations available

    Some clients elect to combine the presentation with onsite training and cross-team meetings. John Yunker has presented to dozens of companies on three continents. Please contact us for more information.

    About the Author

    John Yunker

    Since 2000, John Yunker has helped hundreds of companies improve their global content, websites and software. He authored the first book devoted to the emerging field of web globalization Beyond Borders, as well as the newest, Think Outside the Country. John speaks at numerous industry events, including Localization World, Internet Retailer, and the Unicode Conference and has been quoted on global topics in publications including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He writes the popular web globalization blog Global by Design.

    The Web Globalization Report Card is a copyright of Byte Level Research LLC.

    A Web Globalization Pioneer

    Founded in 2000, Byte Level Research was the first agency devoted to website and content globalization best practices. Over the years we have helped hundreds of companies improve their global content, websites and software through our reports, consulting, speaking and training sessions.


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