Top 5 Most Bought Products in the World

Have you ever wondered if what you like to eat, drink or use every day is actually also among the things most other people eat, drink or use globally? I know I have! Luckily there’s a top-X list for everything these days, and the ranking of top 5 most popular products globally is no exception!

So the top-5 product types by industry include cars, oil (refined), integrated circuitry, car (and machine) parts and computers. Industrial-size imports/exports are traded on a truly global scale. In 2016 alone, cars accounted for nearly 5% of all globally traded goods. A whopping USD 1.35 bln worth of autos were hauled overseas and bought by end users that year, while computers comprised “just” 2.2% at a comparatively small amount of USD 614 bln. But these are broad categories. Surprisingly, such resources as gold or steel didn’t make it as high on the list. But goods that are store-bought and readily available to the regular Joe? The most popular among those may actually surprise you! Let’s dive in.


At number 10 through 5 sit brands like Knorr’s spices, Sunsilk shampoos, Indomie instant noodles (think Vifon only vastly more popular globally), Nescafe coffee and Pepsi fizzy drink (this last one is quite telling, isn’t it?). And now for the brand that opens the top 5…




The formerly Ohio-based chip maker is now owned by Pepsico. Their most popular US flavour varies from taster to taster, but according to some data, the plain salted variety was favoured by as many as 191 million Americans in 2020. That’s a lot of chips (or crisps, as they are referred to in the UK).



You may not be familiar with the brand, because it is actually banned in the EU (as it’s considered too strong). However, in the US this is the top-ranked brand of soap. It was originally founded in England, but over the last century it had built itself a steady following among housewives (and househusbands) and schools alike. Now it’s sold by Unilever and in the US its red bar is considered absolutely iconic.




Not surprising, right? The third most popular product in the world (also foreshadowed by competing Knorr at no. 10) is Maggi – with a rich, Swiss-based history this brand is truly enduring – even though it is owned by Nestle. It is the most sought-after among universal spice and sauces out there, completely dominating the market in India, for example. The fact that their instant soups and noodles along with stock cubes are considered the most dependable for taste further cements the brand’s third place.



Who’d think that the toothpaste that is consistently ranked 1st on Amazon’s most popular products list is also actually picked by more than half of global households? Well, I for one! Frankly, it’s surprising we still haven’t genericized the brand, making this the Xerox or Kleenex of its kind (i.e., brand names that were so popular their name is now used to refer to any product of that type).


So who’s on first then? Drumroll, please!



We’ve told you at the beginning that there was something symbolic at play here. Well, the most iconic brand in the world has enjoyed a 19% increase in value in 2019, up to a mind-boggling sum of USD 36,2 bln. For any single product to achieve that amount is unheard of, and the inventor John Pembroke would probably be astounded to learn that his medicine is now used as a soft drink (minus the original cocaine-related component, of course). Still as addictive though, even with “just” the sugar and caffeine. And sooo tasty.



And which product do you think deserves a spot on the list but didn’t make it? I’d place Heinz ketchup right there, cause I think it’s really… (pardon the pun) awesome sauce.




to wonder – zastanawiać się
these days – obecnie
X is no exception – X nie jest wyjątkiem
refined oil – rafinowana ropa naftowa
integrated circuitry – układy scalone
industrial – przemysłowy
on a global scale – na skalę światową
to account for X – stanowić X (z ogółu, większej liczby)
whopping – gigantyczny
to haul sth – tu: przewieźć coś
overseas – za granicę, za granicą
to comprise X – stanowić X, wynosić
comparatively – relatywnie, stosunkowo
resource – zasób, tu: surowiec
store-bought – sklepowy, do kupienia w sklepie
readily available – łatwo dostępny
the regular Joe – przeciętny Kowalski
to dive in – zagłębić się (w coś), dać nura
X through Y – od X do Y
spice – przyprawa
instant noodles – makaron błyskawiczny
vastly – ogromnie, znacznie
fizzy drink – napój gazowany
telling – wymowny, dający do myślenia
formerly – dawniej, kiedyś
flavour – smak (UK)
to vary from X to Y – zmieniać się od X do Y, w zależności od tego, czy chodzi o X, czy Y
according to sth – zgodnie z czymś, według
plain salted – zwykłe solone (czipsy)
variety – odmiana
to favour sth – wybierać coś, preferować (UK)
crisp – czips (UK)
to refer to sth as sth – określać coś mianem czegoś
familiar with sth – znajomy z czymś, znający coś
to ban sth – zakazać czegoś
to consider sth sth – uznawać coś za coś/jakieś
to found sth – założyć coś
century – stulecie
steady – stały
following – zwolennicy, fani
housewife – gospodyni domowa
X and Y alike – X i Y podobnie, X podobnie jak Y
iconic – kultowy
to foreshadow sth – zwiastować coś, zapowiadać
competing – rywalizujący, konkurencyjny
enduring – trwały
sought-after – poszukiwany, pożądany
stock cube – kostka rosołowa
dependable – solidny, na którym można polegać
to cement sth – przypieczętować coś, scementować
consistently – konsekwentnie, stale
to pick sth – wybierać coś
household – gospodarstwo domowe
I for one! – na przykład ja!
frankly – szczerze mówiąc
to genericize sth – uczynić z marki nazwę każdego produktu takiego typu (np. nazywać każdą powielarkę ksero od nazwy marki Xerox)
drumroll, please! – uwaga, werble/fanfary! (przy zapowiadaniu czegoś nietypowego, nowości, szokującej informacji)
at play – działający. mający wpływ (na sytuację)
increase in value – wzrost wartości
mind-boggling – oszałamiający, wprawiający w osłupienie
unheard of – nieznany (do tej pory), niespotykany
inventor – wynalazca
to astound – zaskoczyć, zadziwić
medicine – lek
soft drink – napój bezalkoholowy
component – składnik
addictive – uzależniający
caffeine – kofeina
pardon the pun… – wybraczcie niezbyt przedni dowcip…

by Prochor Aniszczuk

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