Despite Heavy Competition From Adidas, Nike Is Still the World’s Most Valuable Apparel Brand

Despite its value taking a 12 percent hit to $28 billion, Nike remains the world’s most valuable label, according to Brand Finance’s annual top 50 rankings in apparel. The independent valuation consultancy reported that the athletic giant retained its No. 1 spot even after a tough year in the North American market and the sudden departure of two top-level executives that some have suggested are linked to alleged internal misconduct.

Adidas (up 41 percent to $14.3 billion) played a key role in the struggles Nike has faced in the past two years, with the German-based sportswear brand seeing rapid growth across both sporting and casual categories.

Other notable brands that made the list: H&M, which once again inched past Zara for its No. 2 spot as the Spanish fast-fashion competitor significantly narrowed the gap following a blockbuster year; Hermès, which overtook both Louis Vuitton and Gucci in the luxury fashion category (with Cartier as the biggest value winner, up 45 percent to $9.8 billion); and rival Under Armour, which recorded the largest value drop in the set following its failure to capitalize on basketball shoes and other product verticals.

“The top four brands in apparel are here to stay,” said Brand Finance managing director Richard Haigh. “However, steep competition to maximize on the sporting apparel trend, coupled with increased choice and information for the consumer could threaten Nike’s future position in the rankings.”

Here, the top labels’ values, as calculated by Brand Finance for both this year and last (figures in parenthesis reflect those of 2017):

  1. Nike — $28 billion ($31.8 billion)
  2. H&M — $18.9 billion ($19.2 billion)
  3. Zara — $17.5 billion ($14.4 billion)
  4. Adidas — $14.3 billion ($10.2 billion)
  5. Hermès — $11.3 billion ($8.3 billion)
  6. Louis Vuitton — $10.5 billion ($8.9 billion)
  7. Cartier — $9.8 billion ($6.8 billion)
  8. Gucci — $8.6 billion ($6.9 billion)
  9. Uniqlo — $8.1 billion ($9.6 billion)
  10. Rolex — $6.4 billion ($7 billion)

Brand Finance calculates the values of the brands using the Royalty Relief approach. It involves estimating the likely future revenues that are attributable to a brand by calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for its use, to arrive at a brand value understood as a net economic benefit that its owner would achieve by licensing it in the open market.

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