Amazon has consolidated its position as the world’s most valuable brand, boasting a 32% increase on last year to reach $416bn.
According to Kantar’s new global BrandZ ranking, which covers the 12 months to 7 April, Amazon remains in front of Apple for the second year running, despite the tech giant enjoying a 14% increase in value from 2019, up to $352bn.
Google has dropped to fourth, making way for a resurgent Microsoft, now valued at $327bn – up 30% on 2019. With Google valued at $324bn and sitting in fourth, the top five is rounded out by Visa, worth $187bn.
At six is Alibaba ($153bn), seven is Tencent ($151bn), eight is Facebook, ($147bn), nine is McDonald’s ($129bn). Finally, telecoms giant AT&T has given way to Mastercard ($108bn), which makes its debut in BrandZ’s top 10 from 12th place in 2019.
AT&T has slipped to 11th place, but its $106bn valuation does mean that, for the first time, there are now 11 brands valued at more then $100bn in the rankings.
Despite the trauma of a global pandemic – which only impacted the last few weeks of data for most brands – the value of the top 100 grew by $277bn, a 5.9% increase on last year. In fact, the top 100’s overall total value is close to $5 trn, eclipsing the gross domestic product of Japan, the world’s third largest economy.
“We do believe that in aggregate the world’s top brands are still growing and that’s because the top 100 brands have this extremely strong brand equity,” says BrandZ global strategy director, Graham Staplehurst.
“We saw during the last recession that strong brands recover about five times faster than average.”
Retail and technology brands continue to perform strongly, which is reflected in the top 10 list of this year’s fastest risers. The value of Chinese spirits brand Moutai (18 in the rankings) rose by 58%, followed by Instagram (29) up 47%, athleisure brand Lululemon up 40%, Costco (47) up 35% and Netflix (26) up 34%.
While Lululemon is third in the list of BrandZ’s fastest risers, the brand does not make the overall top 100, although it is fourth in the apparel category.
The value of chart-topping Amazon rose by 32%, followed next by LinkedIn (43) up 31%, Microsoft (3) up 30%, Adobe (35) up 29% and Chinese food delivery service Meituan (54) up 27%.
As Staplehurst explains, the BrandZ top 100 is perhaps most notable for its relative stability, for showcasing brands that are proving to be resilient despite such volatile times.
“It’s a huge validation of brand-building investment,” he says. “People are uncertain and are looking for reassurance. Trusted brands will give people that reassurance.”
Kantar’s BrandZ valuation process takes the financial value created by a brand in US dollars and multiplies it by brand contribution. The result is Brand Value: the dollar amount a brand contributes to the overall value of a corporation. Isolating and measuring this intangible asset reveals an additional source of shareholder value that otherwise would not exist.
That brand contribution is derived from consumer research that quantifies how much of the volume people purchase and how much of the price premium people pay can be attributed to brand equity, connecting what people think to what they do.
This year’s analysis involves 17,000 brands, 3.8 million consumers, 512 categories, 51 markets and 5.3 billion data points.