Kantar: Apple on track to hit $1,000,000 brand valuation as Amazon plummets

Diving brief:

  • Apple has reclaimed its place as the world’s most valuable brand in Kantar’s annual BrandZ ranking, knocking down Amazon, which had held the position for several years. The iPhone maker is on track to become the top $1 trillion brand tracked by the agency with a current valuation of $947.1 billion.
  • Amazon fell to third place with a valuation of $705.6 billion, while Google increased its brand value by 79% to land second place with a valuation of $819.6 billion. The Alphabet-owned company was among 37 companies to improve their rankings this year.
  • Consumer and luxury tech companies grew the fastest among the categories, at 46% and 45%, respectively. In a statement, Kantar stressed that brand affinity has “never been more important” as inflation poses significant challenges for marketers and consumers.

Overview of the dive:

Apple, often at the top of the pack in Kantar’s BrandZ rankings, is back on top thanks to diversification in hardware, software and services. The iPhone maker retains a leadership position in the smartphone space, but has also grown its cultural cache through bets like its Apple TV+ streaming service, who this week obtained the rights to broadcast Major League Soccer in a 10-year pact.

Fostering a healthy affinity with consumers could be important for Apple if and when it tries to establish a bigger ad business. Rumblings that the company could launch a search engine have sparked industry interest and would be a game-changer as other major digital advertising platforms, like Facebook, grapple with headwinds from privacy changes implemented by Apple.

The BrandZ list is often littered with tech companies — Microsoft, Facebook, Tencent and Alibaba also landed in the top 10 for 2022 — but the latest rankings are a testament to changing trends within the category. Amazon, which won the No. 1 for several years, has seen its status drop, reflecting how major areas of business are struggling. While the company has made progress in building an advertising empire, their online sales struggled to recover from an earlier pandemic frenzy, when many people were forced to shop online.

While some of the online retail explosion has waned for Amazon, Kantar said a broader acceleration in e-commerce adoption has helped retailers develop strong connections with consumers. Louis Vuitton became the first luxury retailer to break into the top 10 this year with a valuation of $124.3 billion, thanks in part to strong performances in China.

The combined value of the top 100 brands assessed by BrandZ jumped 23% over the past year to a total of $8.7 trillion. Kantar suggested investing in brand strength may be more crucial as the global economy continues to prove volatile.

Strong brand affinity underpins a customer’s willingness to pay and has never been more important for organizations looking to offset soaring inflation,” said Martin Guerrieria, head of Kantar BrandZ, in a press release. “This year’s results show us the value of continued investment in branding and marketing capabilities as a means of maximizing business returns regardless of market conditions.”

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