The US’ Most Valuable Brands: Tech Dominates, Entertainment Rises

December 3, 2018

Technology brands continue to dominate the list of America’s most valuable, according to the second annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable US Brands report [pdf]. However other sectors are making inroads with faster brand value growth year-over-year, particularly Entertainment brands such as Netflix.

This year’s list sees a new leader, Apple, which enjoyed a 13% increase in brand value to an estimated $316.1 billion. Apple’s double-digit jump was enough to vault it past last year’s leader, Google, which had a 9% increase in value to $313.3 billion.

Apple and Google are also the world’s most valuable brands, according to a separate recent ranking from Interbrand, although Brand Finance calculates Amazon as its leading global brand by value. The various methodologies used are why these rankings differ.

In these latest BrandZ rankings Amazon is third behind Apple and Google (as with the Interbrand rankings), though it enjoyed the biggest jump in value of the top 10, up 69% to $279.3 billion.

Rounding out the top 5 this year in the BrandZ rankings are Microsoft (+39% to $215.5 billion) and Visa (+35% to $163.9 billion). Visa took the 5th spot from Facebook, which has encountered numerous issues in the past year, resulting in a below-average 7% increase in brand value.

The top 100 overall combined for a brand value of $3.65 trillion, marking a 15% gain from last year. Earlier this year, a separate report from BrandZ also found that big brands are getting bigger, as the top 100 brands globally combined for a 21% rise in brand value.

Which Categories Are Most Heavily Represented?

It’s no surprise that tech continues to dominate the top brand value rankings. This year one-fifth (20) of the top 100 are tech brands, up from 19 last year, although only 3 rank among the top 5, down 1 from last year (we’re looking at you, Facebook).

The collective brand value of these tech brands is almost $1.4 trillion. To put that in context:

  • Tech brands are 20% of the number of brands in the top 100, but almost 40% of their collective value;
  • Among brands in the top 100, tech brands’ collective value is more than 3 times the size of the next-largest category, Retail.

For its part, Retail placed 11 brands in the top 100 – led obviously by Amazon. While Amazon was only one of the 11 Retail brands in the top 100, it accounts for an incredible 62% of the Retail brands’ collective value. (The next-highest ranking Retail brand in the top 100 is The Home Depot at #16, with a brand value about one-ninth that of Amazon.)

But while Tech clearly is the dominant industry category by brand value, the rise in brand value of the Tech brands in the top 100 was only about average, at 16%.

Instead, it’s Entertainment brands that are growing the fastest in value. The Entertainment category saw its collective brand value grow by an impressive 125%, meaning that the value of the Entertainment brands in the top 100 more than doubled in value from last year. (It’s worth noting, though, that while there are 2.5 times more Tech brands in the top 100 as Entertainment brands, the Tech brands are worth about 10 times more.)

Netflix is the paving the way for Entertainment brands. With a 93% surge in brand value to $30.2 billion, Netflix was the fastest-growing by brand value of any in the top 100. It is now the 28th-largest brand in the US by brand value – and it’s also one of the brands that customers would be most likely to recommend.

Meanwhile, another industry category making moves this year is the Payments industry. This sector placed 4 brands in the top 100, and their collective value was 46% higher than that of the Payments brands in the top 100 last year.

B2B brands are also making a strong showing. Adobe was the 5th-fastest riser in terms of brand value (+66%), and Salesforce (+44%) also ranked among the top 10 risers. Microsoft (#4) and IBM (#9) both figured among the top 10 brands by value overall, while Accenture (#23) and Oracle (#29) each had above-average gains in brand value.

Other Report Highlights

  • With a 67% increase in brand value, Instagram is the 4th-fastest riser this year, and is now 53rd on the list.
  • The top 5 brands combined for $1.3 trillion in value, meaning that they hog 35% of the total value of the top 100.
  • Pamper’s is once again the leader when stripping away all other components of the ranking other than “brand contribution,” which measures “how well a brand differentiates itself from its competitors, generates desire, and cultivates loyalty.”
  • Uber leads all brands in the top 100 by Purpose score, and is also perceived by consumers to be the most Innovative brand, ahead of Amazon, Apple and Tesla.

The full report can be viewed here.

About the Data: BrandZ arrives at its brand value by multiplying the brand’s financial value (the amount of corporate earnings attributed to a particular brand) by brand contribution (a percentage of financial value). Brand value is defined as “the dollar amount a brand contributes to the overall value of a corporation.”

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