Where Kimberly-Clark Is Finding Its Growth

In today's world, most companies span several regions and sell across the world. As my Foolish colleague Morgan Housel notes, 10 years ago, less than a third of S&P 500 revenue growth came from abroad. Today, that area makes up half of the S&P 500's growth.

And that number is growing. The truth is, investors regularly underestimate how much demand comes from abroad. More importantly, for large, multinational corporations that have already established a presence in their home markets, much of their future growth comes from abroad.

With that in mind, today we're looking at Kimberly-Clark (NYS: KMB) . We'll examine not only where its sales and earnings come from, but how its sales abroad have changed over time.

Where Kimberly-Clark's sales were five years ago
Five years ago, Kimberly-Clark produced 54% of its sales within the United States.


Source: S&P Capital IQ.

Where Kimberly-Clark's sales are today
Today, while the United States is still a huge part of Kimberly-Clark's story, its Asian and Latin American -- i.e., emerging market -- sales have made enormous strides and now constitute 34% of sales, while Europe is shrinking.


Source: S&P Capital IQ.


5-Year Sales Growth

United States






Asia, Latin America & Other


This pattern isn't too different from Kimberly-Clark's main peers. Procter & Gamble (NYS: PG) has effectively found all its sales growth outside the United States in the past five years. Today, the company serves 4.4 billion of the world's 7 billion people. That's simply incredible. Then we have Clorox (NYS: CLX) , a peer company that has seen its international sales grow 44% over the past five years. The problem is, the company is growing international sales off of a smaller base.

In the end, while companies like Clorox scratching the surface on their international opportunity are intriguing, the superior play looks to be already established global players like Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark. Stagnant growth in the United States should be a continuing trend across these companies for the next decade, so if you're an investor looking for growth, taking full advantage of opportunities in growth markets is key to outperforming the market.

Keep searching for global opportunities
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At the time thisarticle was published Eric Bleeker owns shares of no companies listed above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Clorox. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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