Why Use a Marimekko Chart

Why Use a Marimekko Chart?

I had lunch with a former colleague from Harvard Business School last week. He asked me about Mekko Graphics and specifically about Marimekko charts. I think I did a good job explaining to him why you might use a Marimekko chart. I noted that you can capture two dimensions in one chart, for example revenue by region and vertical market. With a Marimekko chart, you can quickly spot large segments (e.g., a specific vertical that has a large share of a region) and identify ‘white space’ (e.g., a vertical that is under-represented in a specific region).

I found a simple example in the Bain and Company 2012 Global Private Equity Report. They had a Marimekko chart that presented private equity investments in emerging markets. The main takeaway from the chart is that China, India and Brazil dominate the other emerging markets with respect to private equity investments. I decided to reproduce the data both as a 100% stacked bar and a Marimekko chart to highlight the added value of the Marimekko. The two charts are on the slide below:


Both charts show that the China, India and Brazil dominate the other emerging market countries with respect to private equity investments.  The 100% stacked bar makes it easier to see that these three countries account for over 50% of the total investments.  The Marimekko adds regional data to the picture.  You can see the relative importance of the three key countries AND the relative importance of the four regions, with Emerging Asia accounting for over 60% of the total investment.

There are many use cases for the Marimekko chart. The most common is the market map which shows a snapshot of a market in a single chart. Here are some market map examples:

  • US auto sales in units by segment and competitor
  • Broadband subscribers by competitor and country
  • Global wine growing capacity by country and region
  • Fast casusal restaurant locations by competitor and region
  • Super Bowl advertising spending by advertiser and category

To see more examples of Marimekko charts, visit our Chart Gallery

Here is the chart in SlideShare: