Amazon has replaced Google in the top spot in an annual ranking of the world’s most valuable brands.
The e-commerce giant’s brand value increased by 42% on a year-over-year basis, to more than $150 billion, according to Brand Finance Global 500 report. The brand consultancy reviews marketing investment, stakeholder investment, and business performance in determining brand value.
For the first time since the inception of the Brand Finance study, technology brands took all top five places in the ranking. Amazon was followed by Apple, Google, Samsung and Facebook.
Apple’s brand value rebounded to $146.3 billion after a 27%-decline last year. But its future looks bleak, according to BrandFinance.
“Apple has failed to diversify and grown over-dependent on sales of its flagship iPhones, responsible for two thirds of revenue,” the report said. “With the advent of emerging world brands like Huawei, Apple’s increasing focus on what are effectively luxury products may cost the brand a fair share of the global mass market, limiting the potential for brand value growth.”
Google came in third after losing the top spot to Amazon. It had a relatively slow brand value growth of 10% to $120.9 billion. Google’s online ads generated more traffic than expected as aggregated paid clicks rose by 47% in its most recent third quarter, boosting revenues. However, to compete with the world’s most valuable brands, presenting a solid performance is not always enough.
“Google is a champion in internet search, cloud and mobile OS technology but, similarly to Apple, its focus on particular sectors is holding it back from unleashing the full potential of its brand,” the report stated. “Google’s investments in self-driving cars and handsets still lack the scale and audacity demonstrated by Amazon’s new ventures.”
Rounding out the top 10 were AT&T (brand value of $82.4 billion), Microsoft ($81.2 billion), Verizon ($62.8 billion), Walmart ($61.5 billion) and China’s ICBC ($59.2 billion).
More information about the methodology as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Global 500 report.
The dominance of digital is set to grow even more in the coming years as other brands make their way up the Global 500. Google-owned YouTube more than doubled its brand value to $25.9 billion, jumping 70 places to 42nd. Chinese technology brands, taking advantage of captive market conditions, can also boast high brand value growth, with Alibaba (12th), Tencent (21st), WeChat (49th), Baidu (57th), JD (65th), and NetEase (121st), going up by an average of 67% year on year.