After a decades-long run as one of the world’s best-performing stocks, Apple Inc is now within striking distance of a $3 trillion market capitalisation. The milestone would make it as big as the world's fifth largest economy after Germany, just over a year after breaching the $2 trillion mark. With a market cap of $3 trillion, that would mean that Apple would be larger than the economy of the U.K at GDP 2.83 trillion and France at 2.78 trillion, which currently stands as fifth and sixth largest economy of the world.

Apple Inc. is an American multinational technology company that specializes in consumer electronics, computer software and online services. Apple is the largest information technology company by revenue and, since January 2021, the world's most valuable company.

As of December 2021, Apple has a market cap of $2.872 trillion. The market capitalization is the total market value of a publicly traded company's outstanding shares and is commonly used to measure how much a company is worth. In most cases it can be easily calculated by multiplying the share price with the amount of outstanding shares.

Apple shares hit all-time highs again on Monday and were last up 2.8% at $179.30 when it closes Wednesday. The company now need to trade at $182.85 to hit the mark and cap a strong rally that has been powered by investors betting on its brand and viewing it as a comparative safe haven.

Apple became the world’s most valuable business thanks to a steady stream of products that have captivated consumers. Now, with markets wobbling because of concern that higher interest rates and the coronavirus will undermine economic growth, investors view the company as a relatively safe place to park their money thanks to its consistent sales growth and hefty cash balance.

Since the end of the 1990s, Apple shares have returned a whopping 22,000%, equal to about 28% a year. The S&P 500 has returned 7.5% annually in the same period.

The stock has jumped about 30% this year, on top of an 80% surge in 2020. In comparison, the S&P 500 has risen 25% for the period.

Apple market cap history from 2001 to 2021


Its peers in the trillion-dollar club — Microsoft, Alphabet, Saudi Aramco, Amazon, and Tesla —have all gained between 10% and 70%. The second largest company, Microsoft is about $500 billion short of reaching $3 trillion in market capitalisation.

The iPhone maker's march from $2 trillion to near $3 trillion in market value took 16 months, as it led a group of mega cap tech companies such as Google-parent Alphabet Inc and Inc that benefited from people and businesses relying heavily on technology during the pandemic.

By comparison, Apple hit the $1 trillion in market capitalisation in 2018 and took two years to double that valuation. The stock has already breached Wall Street's median price target by $4, with a majority of analysts covering the stock rating it "buy" or higher.

Apple briefly lost its title as the most valuable company to Microsoft Corp earlier this year, after CEO Tim Cook's comments on supply chain woes and the struggle to procure semiconductors and components to make smartphones and laptops.

There’s so much still to come from Apple, which makes you wonder what milestone they’ll pass next and how big they can become.