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The 2018 Web Globalization Report Card

The 2018 Web Globalization Report Card benchmarks the world's best global websites — and how they got there.

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

The 2024 Report Card is now available!

Learn from the best global websites

Web globalization often leaves marketing and web teams with more questions than answers, such as:

  • What languages should we support?
  • How do we build a user-friendly global gateway?
  • How valuable are country codes to people around the world?
  • How is our global website doing compared with our competitors—and why?
  • What common mistakes are companies making with their websites?
  • What emerging trends should we be aware of?
  • How do we design a website to best manage diverse brands and diverse locales?

This report, now in its 14th 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.

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 2017 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.

Two decades of web globalization experience

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 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.

Purchase Details

The 2018 Web Globalization Report Card
Pages: 455
Exhibits & Visuals: 200+
Format: PDF
License: Enterprise

Included with the Report Card:

  1. Report: Web Globalization Bloopers & Blunders
  2. Two paperback copies of the book Think Outside the Country
  3. Report: Geolocation for Global Success
  4. eBook: The Art of the Global Gateway

Companies that have relied on the Report Card over the years include:

  • Cisco
  • FedEx
  • Ford
  • KPMG
  • Nike
  • Philips
  • Sony
  • And numerous national tourist boards and governments

Available for onsite speaking

Author John Yunker has spoken at organizations and conferences in more than two dozen cities and countries around the world. Learn more

Companies that have purchased the Report Card over the years

Thomson Reuters

The Top 25 Global Websites

Wikipedia unseated Google this year. While Google regressed slightly in its global navigation, Wikipedia made a subtle but important step forward. And Wikipedia supports the most lightweight mobile website of any of the 150 websites studied.

NIVEA provides a good case study of a company that localizes its models for a number of its local websites (though there is still plenty of room for improvement). and remain closely matched in both languages and global gateway strategies -- and continue to lead over airline, hotel and cruise line websites in global best practices.

Consumer goods companies such as IKEA and Nestlé are a positive sign of non-tech companies continuing to improve their website globalization skills.

This year, we added a small number of religion websites to the mix based on their support for languages. The website leads all websites with support for more than 600 languages, and the website supports 115 languages. But they made the top 25 list not just because of languages but because they exhibit of a number of web globalization best practices.

China missteps plagued a number of companies over the past few months, including Zara and Delta Airlines. We include information on how companies can avoid these issues -- as well as a new report: Web Globalization Bloopers & Blunders.

The average number of languages supported by all 150 global websites is now 32. It was a relatively slow year for many companies, though websites such as Google, Facebook, Zara, Pfizer, Netflix, IKEA and Xiaomi continued to add languages at a good pace.

Pages from the 2018 Web Globalization Report Card

Table of Contents (2018)

  • Web globalization in a world of four billion internet users
  • The top 25 global websites

Part I: Notable Trends & Best Practices

  • China and your website
  • Browsing across borders
  • Why you should support Arabic
  • What to know about India
  • Notable website redesigns
  • The only global gateway icon you should be using
  • The global gateway location: Header or footer?
  • How many websites support Spanish for the US?
  • Cookies are a global problem
  • Social networks and your website
  • Surveys speaking in tongues
  • For more than a billion people, data is a very limited resource
  • Geolocation update
  • The new top-level domain names update
  • How much flexibility is too much flexibility?
  • Country codes update
  • Image localization
  • Web globalization everywhere
  • Machine translation everywhere

Part II: Language Leaders and Trends

  • The average number of languages your website should support
  • Language leaders
  • Website globalization is a journey without end
  • Websites gaining languages
  • Language totals for all websites
  • The 100-language club
  • Most popular languages
  • What are the global languages?

Part III: The Websites and How They Were Scored

  • How websites were selected
  • The websites
  • Scoring methodology
  • Global Reach (Languages)
  • Global Navigation
  • Global/Mobile Architecture
  • Localization & Social
  • Methodology FAQ
  • What do the scores mean?

Part IV: Website Scores
  • All website scores
  • Global navigation leaders
  • Most global companies use country codes
  • Why you should use the globe icon
  • It’s time to stop using flags
  • Geolocation is a proven web localization solution
  • Geolocation
  • Leaders in global consistency

Part V: Website Highlights by Industry

  • Industry leaders
  • Automotive
  • Consumer Goods
  • Consumer Technology
  • Delivery Services
  • Diversified
  • Enterprise Technology
  • Financial Services
  • Luxury
  • Media
  • Professional Services
  • Religion
  • Retail
  • Travel & Hospitality
  • Web Services
  • Conclusion
  • Globalization Terminology
  • About the Author

Websites Included (2018)

  • 3M
  • ABB
  • Accenture
  • Adidas
  • Adobe
  • Airbnb
  • Alibaba
  • Allianz
  • Amazon
  • American Airlines
  • American Express
  • Apple
  • Audi
  • Autodesk
  • Avis
  • Avon
  • Axa
  • Bayer
  • BBC
  • BMW
  • British Airways
  • Burberry
  • Canon
  • Capgemini
  • Cartier
  • Caterpillar
  • Chevrolet
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Christian Science
  • Cisco Systems
  • Citibank
  • Coca-Cola
  • Costco
  • Dell
  • Deloitte
  • Delta
  • DHL
  • Disney
  • Dyson
  • eBay
  • Eli Lilly
  • Emirates
  • Enterprise
  • Ernst & Young
  • Expedia
  • Facebook
  • FedEx
  • Ford
  • Four Seasons
  • GE
  • Gillette
  • GoDaddy
  • Google
  • Gucci
  • H&M
  • Heineken
  • Hermès
  • Hertz
  • Hilton
  • Hitachi
  • Honda
  • Honeywell
  • HP
  • HP Enterprise
  • HSBC
  • HTC
  • Huawei
  • Hyatt
  • Hyundai
  • IBM
  • IKEA
  • Intel
  • InterContinental Hotels
  • J&J/Janssen
  • Jack Daniel's
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • John Deere
  • Kayak
  • KLM
  • KPMG
  • Land Rover
  • LEGO
  • Lenovo
  • Lexus
  • LG
  • Loréal
  • Louis Vuitton
  • LUSH
  • Marriott
  • MasterCard
  • McDonald's
  • Mercedes
  • Merck
  • Microsoft
  • Mini
  • Mitsubishi Electric
  • Moët & Chandon
  • Mont Blanc
  • MUJI
  • Nestlé
  • Netflix
  • Nike
  • Nikon
  • Nissan
  • Oracle
  • Pampers
  • Panasonic
  • PayPal
  • Pepsi
  • Pfizer
  • Philips
  • Procter & Gamble
  • PWC
  • Rolex
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Salesforce
  • Samsung
  • Sanofi
  • SAP
  • Siemens
  • Sony
  • Starbucks
  • Steelcase
  • Subaru
  • Tesla
  • Texas Instruments
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • The Holy See
  • Thomson Reuters
  • Tiffany
  • Toshiba
  • Toyota
  • TripAdvisor
  • Trivago
  • Twitter
  • Uber
  • United Airlines
  • UPS
  • Visa
  • VOA News
  • Volkswagen
  • Volvo Cars
  • Walmart
  • Western Union
  • Wikipedia
  • Xerox
  • Xiaomi
  • Zara
  • Frequently Asked Questions

    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 they 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.

    Who analyzes these websites?

    Report author John Yunker reviews every website — and has done so for every edition 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 2017 Interbrand 100 Best Global Brands.

    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, and The World Bank. There are companies not included in this report that also use it regularly, such as global consulting and IT firms and various government agencies.

    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.

    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 48 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 content management 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. Over the years, John Yunker has presented at dozens of companies across 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. Trademark pending.

    Companies that have purchased the Report Card over the years

    Thomson Reuters

    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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