Here Are the World’s Most Valuable Brands — Retail, Apparel & Luxury Make the List

This year is coming up all tech.

That’s according to BrandZ’s top 100 most valuable global brands rankings of 2018, released today by London-based multinational advertising firm WPP and market researcher Kantar Millward Brown. Although brands like Google, Apple and Microsoft continued to show their dominance, the report also revealed that retail, luxury and apparel combined are no small moneymaker, accounting for 16 of the list’s names.

“Retail was the bellwether category,” it read. “Having been battered and thoroughly transformed by e-commerce, retail led category value growth for the second consecutive year, with a rise of 35 percent.”

Amazon was the leading retail company at No. 3, boasting a brand value of $207.6 billion. It edged out rivals Alibaba Group at 9th and Walmart at 31st, with brand values amounting to $113.4 billion and $34 billion, respectively.

In the luxury sphere, Louis Vuitton took the top spot at No. 26. The French fashion house marked its brand value with a cool $41.1 billion while Hermes, at 39th, and Gucci, at 54th, owned their places at $28.1 billion and $22.4 billion.

As for apparel, Nike, Zara and Adidas were winners. The former sportswear giant ranked 29th as its brand value increased 13 percent to $38.5 billion. Its Germany-headquartered competitor was a new appearance on the list, earning the last spot of 100th (a brand value of $12.5 billion), while Inditex-owned Zara sat at 42nd with $26.9 billion.

In addition, the report detailed a number of notable trends: 1) Chinese brands were growing at double the pace of those in based in the United States, with retailers JD.com and Alibaba appreciating most in value on a year-to-year basis; 2) Brands are increasingly using data-driven, intelligence-led technologies, including artificial intelligence and augmented reality; and 3) Strategic, long-term partnerships can prove to be pivotal for brands looking to offer better customer experiences.

Overall, the total brand value for the top 100 companies climbed by a record 21 percent in the last year, adding $748 billion to the ranking, which is now valued at $4.4 trillion, and marking the largest one-year value increase in the global report’s 12-year history.

“We’ve seen the biggest ever rise in brand value this year, driven by growth across all categories,” added the study’s leader, David Roth, who is also CEO of WPP’s global retail practice, The Store. “Both new and established players have seen the payoff in being bold and adopting a long-term outlook towards brand-building.”

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