Mar 26, 2021

BCG: Leading, and profiting, with values

Laura V. Garcia
3 min
Leading with values
The Boston Consulting Group records $8.6 billion in revenue while leading with values...

While the world saw a global economic downturn, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) was able to maintain a healthy growth rate of 8%, recording $8.6 billion in revenue. Although the figure was a significant drop from the 14% growth the Group experienced in 2019 and broke a six-year run of double-digit growth, on a positive note, unlike other consultancy firms, BCG was able to expand its headcount, adding roughly 1,000 people to reach 22,000 employees globally.

"In an exceptionally challenging global economy, BCG adapted, remained agile, and continued to put our clients first. I'm enormously proud of the dedication, inventiveness, and commitment of our team to partner with leaders across every industry to build resilience, protect employees, support frontline workers, and prepare for a strong recovery," said Rich Lesser, CEO of BCG.

Lesser accredits growing demand for digital capabilities due to the pandemic for the growth.

Important, however, the CEO highlighted that the company remains driven by values, focusing on corporate social responsibility.

BCG has actively supported global governments in developing a response to the challenges of the pandemic, including vaccine rollout efforts. Furthermore, the firm invested $150 million in 2020 to help both public and private sector organisations respond to the global pandemic. Additionally, the company invested $300 million into its social impact and sustainability efforts, including support for initiatives from the World Economic Forum and World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The Group has also previously announced that it planned to invest $400 million over the next ten years in its goal to achieve a “climate positive” sustainability target throughout its operations and remains committed to diversity and inclusion. 

"Looking forward, climate action remains one of our most urgent challenges,” Lesser said. “As we partner with clients to help them realize their net-zero ambitions, we have continued to change the way we operate as a firm.” Over the last ten years, the proportion of women on the firm’s executive committee has increased significantly from 18% to 35%, while and the number of female managing directors and partners has increased to almost three times the rate.

BCG has also announced Expansion of their Global Climate and Sustainability Center and COP26 Partnership, “Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is expanding its climate and sustainability capabilities by transforming its existing Center for Climate Action into a global BCG Center for Climate & Sustainability, bringing together over 550 experts across the firm. It comes as the firm is announced as the Consultancy Partner of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).”

Leading with values and making profits at the same time. There’s good reason these guys are leaders.

Founded in 1963 by Bruce Henderson in Boston, BCG has more than 90 offices in over 50 countries and advise many of the world’s top organisations as well as numerous governments.

BCG’s Managing Directors and Partners, Daniel Weise and Wolfgang Schnellbächer authored the book “Jumpstart to Digital Procurement: Pushing the Value Envelope in a New Age,” if you haven’t yet checked it out, you should.

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Jun 13, 2021

How Covid-19 Shook Up the Who's Who of American Retail

3 min
We check out the new Digital Commerce 360 Top 500 analysis report to see how Covid-19 shook up the who's who of American retail

According to the new Digital Commerce 360 Top 500 analysis report, the massive shift in ecommerce habits due to COVID-19 resulted in a windfall for the US’s largest retailers, including Amazon, Walmart and Target.

The study found that the top 500 companies generated a combined total of $849.5 billion in online sales in 2020, representing a 45.3 per cent increase YoY, the largest jump since Digital Commerce 360 began tracking the statistic in 2006 and more than double the median growth of 18.0% seen over the last decade.

Although retailers of all sizes saw an uptick from online sales, in large part, throughout the pandemic, customers looked to familiar big name brands to fulfil much of their essential needs. Demand for items began to spike as manufacturing in Asia was forced to shut down, causing supply chain shortages. As large retailers tend to hold more inventory, this became a crucial differentiator for customers, says Digital Commerce 360.

Combined, Walmart Inc., Inc. and Target Corp. added $265 billion in US revenue to the $791.70 billion U.S. ecommerce market in 2020, accounting for a third of the market.

Considering the need for people to stay busy during lockdowns as well as the requirements of homeschooling, it’s not surprising Joann, a crafting company, showed the fastest online growth of Digital Commerce 360’s top 500.

  • In 2019, the bottom 100 of the top 500 registered the fastest growth while the top 100 showing the slowest growth rate. In 2020, however, the analysis showed the opposite, the top 100 largest companies grew at a rate greater than that of the whole, and the top 10 on the list enjoyed a growth rate even faster than the top 100.


  • In 2020, collectively the top 10 grew web sales 52.5%, almost five percentage points faster than the top 100 and accounted for 62.8% of Top 500 sales, up from 59.9% in 2019.


  • Who made the top 10 was shaken up some. For example, Walmart made it into the second spot, both Kroger Co. and Costco Wholesale Corp. crept into the top 10 for the first time, landing at No. 8 and No. 10 respectively

Segments of retail that enjoyed fueled courtesy of COVID included toys and hobbies, jumping an average of 24 spots in the rankings and food and beverage merchants moved up an average 23 ranks. In contrast, apparel retailers dropped an average 15 positions in the Top 500, whereas jewellery retailers fell an average of 10 spots.

Although Digital Commerce 360 attributes some of the growth to stock positions and the ability of large retailers to manage supply chain issues, even the largest internet retailer experienced disruption. In March of 2020, during the first save of the US pandemic, even the Amazonian giant found themselves running into meeting customer commitments and delivering orders on time. Order cancellations and extended lead times became commonplace. For a time, Amazon stopped fulfilling orders for items considered “non-essential”.

Despite the issues, Amazon maintained its spot as the top online retailer in North America by a large margin, representing 35.7% of all Top 500 sales. Although it should be noted that the share is down from the 36.7% it saw in 2019.

At the outset of the pandemic Etsy, a solely ecommerce company focused on handmade, vintage items and craft supplies, was expected to perform poorly. However, as supply chain shortages for face masks caused a sudden need for cloth masks, many began to turn to Etsy, tripling its stock value by June. 


You can check out the new Digital Commerce 360 Top 500 analysis report here.

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