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

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 Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ). We'll examine not only where its sales and earnings come from, but how its sales abroad have changed over time.

Where Johnson & Johnson's sales were five years ago
Five years ago, Johnson & Johnson reported a heady 56% of sales to the United States market. Europe was a distant second at just 24% of company sales.

Editorial

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

Where Johnson & Johnson's sales are today
Today, Johnson & Johnson still relies on the United States for most of its sales.

Editorial

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

However, while the company still relies on the United States for most its sales, growth in its core market has been anemic.

Segment

5-Year Total Sales Growth

United States 4%
Europe 27%
Western Hemisphere, excluding U.S. 80%
Asia-Pacific, Africa 61%

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

Look for the continuing geographic expansion at Johnson & Johnson to continue. In recent quarters, Johnson & Johnson has noted strong international growth in basic products like women's sanitary products and Listerine. While these products already dominate in the United States, demand continues to soar in developing countries.

Competitor checkup
One last point to check is how Johnson & Johnson's footprint compares to some of its peers across the broader pharmaceuticals and health care industry:

Company

Geographic Area With Most Sales

Percent of Sales

Johnson & Johnson United States 48%
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) United States 43%
Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) United States 43%
Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY) United States 56%

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

The geographic profiles of most companies in the health care sector are similar. If you're looking for a direct play into higher growth markets, these companies should benefit, but not at the same rate as other industries. It's more difficult to participate in emerging market growth when a company sells products that are buffered by patents in more developed markets, while emerging markets have limited controls on cheaper substitutes. Of all the options above, Pfizer has the strongest exposure away from developed countries like the United States and Europe.

Keep searching
If you're looking to stay updated on Johnson & Johnson, or any other companies listed above, make sure to add them to our free watchlist service, My Watchlist. It's free, and it helps you constantly stay updated on news and analysis on your favorite companies.

Eric Bleeker owns no shares of any companies listed above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Abbott Laboratories and Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories, and Pfizer. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.