Having just finished my first book on personal branding which will be published later this year starting in the UK, you can guess that I am a big fan on the potential of the concept of branding. When it is well-executed, branding commands higher margins, creates loyal consumers, and creates that special buzz many like to follow.
The advent of smartphones and social media has increased the importance of branding. With smartphones, we can all provide instant feedback to a brand about our experiences. Social media creates opportunities to generate viral content which increases the value of the brand.
Branding at all levels, including you as an individual, will increase in importance as digitization continues to become ubiquitous. For that reason, every year I look forward to the latest Kantar BrandZ most valuable global brands reports.
For the world’s 100 most valuable brands, their value declined a surprising 20 percent in 2023 in the face of strong macroeconomic headwinds. The total value of the world’s top 100 global brands now stands at $6.9 trillion. As the research summarizes, reinforcing the importance of paying attention to you brand, “over the seventeen years in which we have been tracking the world’s strongest brands, the companies behind the top-ranking brands have outperformed stock market benchmarks.”
This article summarizes the top ten most valuable global brands in the key categories that I am most passionate about—retail, apparel, and luxury. The actual research is very comprehensive and covers all industries and makes for a good read on differentiation strategies for growth which are critical to brands. All quotes and data in this article are from the Kantar BrandZ report.
The Top 10 Most Valuable Global Brands and New Entrants
Before revealing the top retail brands, lets do a quick review of the top ten most valuable global overall brands and interesting this year, the top new entrant.
Interesting that eight out of the ten most valuable brands had value decreases versus the prior year with Tencent from China and Amazon from the US having the steepest changes. Only Coca-Cola registered an 8 percent increase versus last year. Louis Vuitton stayed at the same level.
Four out of the top ten have substantial retail operations. The US dominates the top ten with eight companies represented. China and France are the other two countries represented.
On the newcomer front, five of the eleven companies shown are from the Fast-Moving-Consumer-Goods sector (FMCG): Nonfu Spring, Pepsi, Red Bull, Colgate, and Pampers. Four of these brands are re-entrants with Nongfu from China appearing for the first time.
The surprise at the highest value for a new entrant is Shein. Coming in at number 70 overall, this Singapore headquartered e-retailer has been taking the world by storm. “Shein’s very identity—its cultural pulse—is based around connecting shoppers to the latest viral fashion trends as surfaced on platforms like Instagram and TikTok. In short: it’s a clothing brand for our digital age.”
The 20 Most Valuable Retail Brands
Overall, “brand values in the retail category declined 27 percent year on year as consumers moved beyond lockdown-era shopping patterns and investors cast a tougher eye on tech companies.”
Surprised by the resilience of Amazon with all the challenges they faced in the last year. Also expected Walmart to be at least number two, but having said this, Home Depot deserves this higher ranking.
Eleven out of the top twenty most valuable retail brands are from the US. China comes in second with four based in that country.
Interesting the chart on the right which indicates that strong brand equity of predominantly online retailers gave them more leeway to pass on inflationary costs and maintain margins. Having said this, physical stores had a solid recovery back to importance post the pandemic and multiple brands on this list represent that success.
The 10 Most Valuable Apparel Brands
Overall, the total value of the world’s ten most valuable apparel brands in 2023 declined 21 percent year on year. This is a reversal in the category’s performance in 2022 when the top ten saw an increase in value of 20 percent.
Nike is the only brand on this list to hail from the United States. China has two brands in the top ten—Anta and Li-Ning. Asia as a continent has four top brands—Shein, Uniqlo, Anta, and Li-Ning. Europe also has four top ten brands—Zara, Adidas, H&M, and Puma. Lululemon is based in Canada.
Interesting again the high positioning in the top ten by Shein. Ten years into their business model, Shein is already well established in the US and had demonstrated clear future growing power with your shoppers in new markets like the UK.
The 10 Most Valuable Luxury Brands
The epitome of branding are luxury brands and it is interesting that out of the other groups in this article they had the smallest decline in value. For 2023, the category declined 4 percent.
Europe dominates the top ten luxury group with nine of the brands. Tiffany is headquartered in New York, but is owned by LVMH and therefore technically all ten companies have a European base. Growth in this category cannot be taken for granted as one of their largest markets, China, is struggling.
For all global brands, the trends to watch according to the Kantar BrandZ 2023 report are: Artificial Intelligence changing the game; inflation and interest rates; consumer perception of value; climate and sustainability; the China challenge; greater focus on experiences; the arrival of Generation Alpha; India rising; the rethinking of seasonality. Overall, another great report to keep up on the continued growing importance of branding.