To understand how we got to 2021’s most successful brands, it’s crucial to understand what happened during the pandemic.
2019 & 2020’s Most Valuable Brands
Several interesting financial trends evolved amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and when Forbes released its list of the top ten most valuable companies in 2019 and 2020 for consumers, it highlighted those trends.
As expected, the list was topped by tech, as the top technology companies in the world received an unexpected financial blessing from the coronavirus this year. Although the virus has made people’s personal lives miserable, the isolation and forced use of digital communications have been a massive boon for top tech companies all over the globe, most notably Apple, Amazon, and Netflix.
Many of the top companies on the list increased in value during 2020 despite consumer trends boding poorly during the year.
Forbes updated its list of the most valuable brands in 2020, and the results were in line with what many would expect during a pandemic, during which staying inside and safe were the top priorities. Technology holds the first six spots on the list, further bolstering the idea that the tech sector has been far and away the most prosperous during the Covid-19 pandemic.
There were newcomers, like Nintendo, Burger King, Hennessy, and AXA, but the top ten companies were the same players as in previous years. Forbes used average earnings before tax and considered any outstanding debt and capital considerations. Here were the top ten most valuable brands in 2020.
With a brand value of $241.2 billion and a percent change of seventeen percent, 2020 was very good for Apple. The company set to release the twelfth version of the iPhone and split its stock, inviting many an amateur investor to jump in at the new ground floor. The company also hit a market cap of two trillion dollars.
Google is one of the most recognizable names in the tech industry. They conquered not just the search engine industry but it has also branched out into smart devices, email, cloud services, and more. This giant was worth an impressive $207.5 billion and still growing beyond even the most heightened expectations. The company increased its growth by nearly twenty-five percent in 2020, which is both incredible and expected with the continued proliferation of the internet and the fact that many families find themselves inside without much to do. Their impressive presence throughout the tech sector definitely keeps them in the top rung of most successful businesses.
Another impressive tech company that’s also injected itself into nearly every aspect of the internet is Microsoft. While they aren’t quite as high up as Google, they’re still a household name in computers. Below the $200 billion line now, Microsoft was still one of the most successful, growing by a staggering thirty percent from 2019 to 2020.
Quickly becoming one of the most popular shopping destinations, Amazon quite possibly stood the most to gain from the pandemic. Their online shopping and entertainment options made enjoying time at home and getting the items you needed easier than ever for people who couldn’t leave the house. At number four, Amazon was easily the fastest-growing company on the 2020 list. Despite its value of $135.4 billion, the company still grew a blistering forty percent during the year.
Although rocked by multiple scandals, conspiracy theories, and misinformation disseminated on the site, this social media giant didn’t slow down in 2020, which makes a lot of sense considering the number of people stuck surfing the social waves online. Facebook was one of the most valued companies on the planet, worth an estimated $70.3 billion in 2020.
The only food-and-drink-based company on the list, Coca-Cola’s staying power in the mind of the American consumer is quite unbelievable. As one of the top beverage companies ever, Coca-Cola leaned into the pandemic’s increased desire for comfort items. Coca-Cola was valued at about $64.4 billion and still growing.
The corporate behemoth had quite the year. Although its outlook seemed bleak because of the virus, Disney grew eighteen percent in 2020, all the way to $61.3 billion. They’ve taken on a number of properties and, thanks to Disney+, have stayed current in the minds of everyone looking for even more things to watch while in lockdown.
As a leading provider of computers, phones, TVs, and more, Samsung is another technology provider on the list. The only other company to lose value this year, Samsung, is still going strong, however, worth an astounding $50.4 billion. The Japanese tech giant suffered during the previous few years but had undoubtedly gained as a part of the tech sector.
The fashion and accessory industries have gained distinct and unique popularity over the last few years. Louis Vuitton is a French luxury fashion company and is well known among upper-class fashion fiends. The company was worth $47.2 billion and grew a whopping twenty percent over the last year.
Finally, rounding out the top ten is Micky D’s. The fast-food chain grew only five percent but was still valued at $46.1 billion, making it the most valuable restaurant franchise in the world.
2021 Improves Over 2020 Numbers
In 2021, Kantar BrandZ Most Valuable Global Brands 2021 ranking showed a combined company worth of over $7 trillion. The 42% increase, over four times the study’s annual average increase over the past 15 years, was driven by better consumer confidence thanks to vaccine availability, economic stimulus packages, and favorable GDP outlooks.
US brands account for 56 of the Top 100 brands in the Kantar list, and Amazon and Apple lead the way, with each company’s worth surpassing $500 billion.
Let’s look at Kantar’s 2021 global value rankings to get an even better idea of how the world’s economies are doing.
Amazon maintained its position as the world’s most valuable brand on its list, growing 64% to $684 billion. Having first entered the BrandZ ranking in 2006, Amazon’s value grew by almost $268 billion in 2021 and became one of the first half-a-trillion-dollar brands, joined by Apple.
Apple continues to be one of the most successful brands in 2021 and going forward. Their value was put at just under $612 billion, which represented a 74% increase over the previous year. As number two on the list, they showcase how strong technology, in general, is.
Another tech giant, Google, was valued at nearly $458 billion on the 2021 list, an increase of 42%. While it’s not as strong as some, it’s unlikely that Google will ever leave the top ten.
Continuing with the tech theme, Microsoft was next with a value of just over $410 billion and a 26% increase over the previous year. Though, it’s worth pointing out that it’s well below their main competitor Apple.
Tencent is a Chinese multinational technology and entertainment conglomerate. They were valued at nearly $241 billion, with an impressive 60% growth over 2020.
The social media giant didn’t slow down in 2021 and was valued at nearly $227 billion with a significant 54% growth.
A unique eCommerce platform and online retailer, Alibaba did well in 2021 and was valued at nearly $197 billion after 29% growth over 2020.
Squeaking just above its competitor, Visa came in near the bottom of the top 10 at just over $191 billion. It only saw a 2% increase over 2020.
The only food-related company on the list, McDonald’s was valued at nearly $155 billion in 2020 and saw a 20% increase over the previous year.
And last in the top 10, Visa’s competitor MasterCard was valued at almost $113 billion with just 4% growth over the previous year.
Overall Trends in 2021
In addition to the top tens, there were several interesting trends in 2021, including:
- Tesla was the fastest growing brand and became the most valuable among car brands, growing 275% year-on-year to $42.6 billion
- Five brands more than doubled their values: Pinduoduo, Meituan, Moutai, and TikTok from China, and Tesla based in the USA.
- 69 brands fueled the overall growth of brands that year, increasing their value by at least 5% since 2020.
- 13 new entrants, including Zoom, Nvidia, AMD, and Spotify, added to the overall value growth of brands in 2021.
- Technology dominated, with seven of the top ten brands coming from the tech sector.
- US brands grew fastest in 2021, with their brand values increasing an average of 46%, meaning the US made up 74% of the Top 100’s total value, despite having just 24% of global GDP.