Ranked: The Most Valuable Brands in the World in 2020
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Ranked: The Most Valuable Brands in the World

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Most Valuable Brands 2020

Ranking The World’s Most Valuable Brands

Due to its intangible nature, the power of a brand can be difficult to translate to a balance sheet. That said, a brand that truly connects with consumers and stands the test of time can deliver immense financial value.

Today’s graphic pulls data from the 2020 edition of Brand Finance’s annual Global 500 report, which ranks the world’s top brands by value using a multi-dimensional formula.

By quantifying the true value of a brand, investors and key decision makers can identify value that extends beyond quarterly earnings reports.

How much are brands really worth?

A Closer Look at the Leaderboard

With 18% growth in the last year resulting in an eye-watering brand value of $220 billion, Amazon is a clear winner as the world’s most valuable brand—towering over Google and Apple’s brand valuations. As the largest online marketplace on the planet, Amazon relies on innovative technologies and investments in fast-growing sectors, such as healthcare, to create a diverse retail ecosystem.

Although tech companies command five of the top 10 spots in the ranking, brands from more traditional industries are hot on their tails.

Here are the top 100 most valuable brands according to the report:

RankingBrand2020 Brand ValueYoY % ChangeCountrySector
#1Amazon$220B17.5%United StatesRetail
#2Google$160B11.9%United StatesTech
#3Apple$140B-8.5%United StatesTech
#4Microsoft$117B-2.1%United StatesTech
#5Samsung$94B3.5%South KoreaTech
#6ICBC$80B1.2%ChinaBanking
#7Facebook$79B-4.1%United StatesMedia
#8Walmart$77B14.2%United StatesRetail
#9Ping An$69B19.8%ChinaInsurance
#10Huawei$65B4.5%ChinaTech
#11Mercedes-Benz$65B7.8%GermanyAutomobiles
#12Verizon$63B-10.5%United StatesTelecoms
#13China Construction Bank$62B-10.2%ChinaBanking
#14AT&T$59B-32%United StatesTelecoms
#15Toyota$58B11.1%JapanAutomobiles
#16State Grid$57B11.1%ChinaUtilities
#17Disney$56B22.7%United StatesMedia
#18Agricultural Bank of China$55B-0.7%ChinaBanking
#19WeChat$54B6.8%ChinaMedia
#20Bank of China$51B-0.7%ChinaBanking
#21The Home Depot$50B7.3%United StatesRetail
#22China Mobile$49B-11.9%ChinaTelecoms
#23Shell$47B12.4%NetherlandsOil & Gas
#24Saudi Aramco$47BN/ASaudi ArabiaOil & Gas
#25Volkswagen$45B7.6%GermanyAutomobiles
#26YouTube$44B17.5%United StatesMedia
#27Tencent QQ$44B-11.3%ChinaMedia
#28Starbucks$41B4.5%United StatesRestaurants
#29Wells Fargo$41B2.3%United StatesBanking
#30BMW$40B0.0%GermanyAutomobiles
#31Deutsche Telekom$40B-13.6%GermanyTelecoms
#32Moutai$39B29.1%GermanySpirits
#33PetroChina$38B3.3%ChinaOil & Gas
#34Coca-Cola$38B4.8%United StatesSoft Drinks
#35Mitsubishi Group$38B42.8%JapanAutomobiles
#36McDonald’s$37B18.9%United StatesRestaurants
#37Taobao$37B-20.7ChinaRetail
#38NTT Group$36B-12.8%JapanTelecoms
#39Bank of America$35B-3.6%United StatesBanking
#40Nike$35B7.3%United StatesApparel
#41Porsche$33B15.6%GermanyAutomobiles
#42Sinopec$33B14.7%ChinaOil & Gas
#43IBM$33B1.5%United StatesTech
#44CITI$33B-9%United StatesBanking
#45Honda$33B28.6%JapanAutomobiles
#46Marlboro$33B-2.7%United StatesTobacco
#47Deloitte$32B9.6%United StatesCommercial Services
#48Chase$31B-13.8%United StatesBanking
#49Tmall$31B-15.9%ChinaRetail
#50UPS$29B0.6%United StatesLogistics
#51American Express$29B6.2%United StatesCommercial Services
#52Xfinity$29B6.4%United StatesTelecoms
#53United Healthcare$28B-7.4%United StatesHealthcare
#54Sumitomo Group$28B4.5%JapanMining, Iron & Steel
#55Intel$27B-5.5%United StatesTech
#56VISA$27B-3%United StatesCommercial Services
#57Instagram$27B58%United StatesMedia
#58China Life$25B-4.4%ChinaInsurance
#59Accenture$25B-3.8%United StatesIT Services
#60Allianz$25B7.5%GermanyInsurance
#61CSCEC$25B-3.3%ChinaEngineering & Construction
#62PWC$25B-0.3%United StatesCommercial Services
#63Lowe’s$25B3.4%United StatesRetail
#64Mitsui$24B15.8%JapanMining, Iron & Steel
#65General Electric$24B-14.4%United StatesEngineering & Construction
#66EY$24B2.1%United KingdomCommercial Services
#67Oracle$24B-6.7%United StatesTech
#68Cisco$24B7.1%United StatesTech
#69BP$23B2.6%United KingdomOil & Gas
#70CVS$23B9.1%United KingdomRetail
#71Total$23B8.1%FranceOil & Gas
#72FedEx$23B-5.1%United StatesLogistics
#73Netflix$23B8.4%United StatesMedia
#74China Merchants Bank$23B1.8%ChinaBanking
#75JP Morgan$23B15.3%United StatesBanking
#76Boeing$23B-29%United StatesAerospace & Defence
#77Costco$23B32.1%United StatesRetail
#78SK Group$22B-17.5%South KoreaTelecoms
#79Wuliangye$21B30.1%ChinaSpirits
#80Evergrande$21B0.5%ChinaReal Estate
#81Nestle$21B3.4%SwitzerlandFood
#82Hyundai Group$21B-2.8%South KoreaAutomobiles
#83China Telecom$21B-2.8%ChinaTelecoms
#84Siemens$21B-7.2%GermanyEngineering & Construction
#85TATA Group$21B2.3%IndiaEngineering & Construction
#86Mastercard$21B8.4%United StatesCommercial Services
#87Bosch$20B-14.6%GermanyEngineering & Construction
#88IKEA$19B-9.4%SwedenRetail
#89HSBC$19B-3.6%United KingdomBanking
#90Spectrum$19B25%United StatesTelecoms
#91Vodafone$19B-10.3%United KingdomTelecoms
#92Pepsi$19B2.2%United StatesSoft Drinks
#93Alibaba$19B28.8%ChinaRetail
#94Ford$18B-1.4%United StatesAutomobiles
#95AIA$18B17.3%ChinaInsurance
#96Orange$18B-13.7%FranceTelecoms
#97Nissan$18B-4.5%JapanAutomobiles
#98Chevron$18B4.7%United StatesOil & Gas
#99GUCCI$18B20.2%ItalyApparel
#100Dell Technologies$18B-22.9%United StatesTech

American retail giant Walmart enters 2020’s top 10 ranking with an impressive brand value increase of 14% to $77.5 billion. The retailer’s recent success could be partially attributed to its growing strategic partnership with Microsoft—which currently sits in sixth place. By tapping into Microsoft’s cloud services, Walmart can now provide a digital first retail experience for its customers.

Another brand that has experienced remarkable growth is China’s leading insurance company, Ping An. With 19.8% growth, resulting in a brand value of $69 billion, the financial conglomerate’s aggressive focus on fintech R&D has garnered the company 200 million retail customers and 500 million internet users—making it one of the largest financial services companies in the world.

While the majority of the world’s most valuable brands hail from the U.S. or China, which brands lead by region?

Most Valuable Brands by Region

Not surprisingly, Amazon leads as the most valuable B2C brand across the Americas, with the exception of Latin America. Beer brand Corona, was crowned as the leader in this region, boasting a brand value of $8.1 billion.

most valuable brands supplemental

In Europe, German companies outperformed other countries, with automotive brand Mercedes-Benz holding the title for the most valuable B2C brand for that continent—despite China being its biggest market.

On the other side of the world, Samsung reigns as Asia’s most valuable B2C brand. The company owns 54% of the nascent 5G market globally, having shipped 6.7 million 5G phones in the last year alone.

A Brand Eat Brand World

Whether brands are regional or global leaders, they still face the threat of being knocked of their perch by brands experiencing significant growth.

Climbing to the Top

With an increase of 65% to $12.4 billion, Tesla is officially the fastest-growing brand in the world. Despite concerns over not being able to keep up with demand, the electric car company is expected to exceed 500,000 vehicle deliveries in 2020. Having recently posted over $7 billion of revenue in the fourth quarter of 2019, the success of Tesla’s innovative models is sure to rattle the automotive brands in the ranking.

However, not everything comes down to innovation. European retailers Lidl and Aldi have seen growth of 40% and 37% respectively, and are only getting started.

After disrupting Europe’s entire supermarket industry by offering quality products at significantly lower prices, the chains now have their sights set on the U.S. market, with Aldi expected to surpass Kroger in sales.

Despite the unprecedented disruption caused by e-commerce, the popular assertion that entering digital operations brings instant success while bricks and mortar stores are doomed for extinction is being proved wrong

—David Haigh, CEO Brand Finance

In contrast, there are also well established brands that have struggled to retain brand value.

Racing to the Bottom

Chinese search engine Baidu—also known as the Google of China—recorded the largest drop in brand value, decreasing by 54% to $8.9 billion. The brand has struggled with a poor reputation and intensifying market competition. As a result, the brand’s revenues and subsequently its brand value were heavily impacted.

Boeing is a prime example of the unpredictability of brand value. As a company that once imbued trust and excellent safety standards, the brand’s value has dropped by 29% due to the recent reports of accidents that have tarnished its reputation.

The True Power of Brand

Boeing’s recent hardships reflect the volatile nature of brand value. While 244 brands in the entire ranking have increased their brand value year-over-year, another 212 have taken a hit.

Part of a brand’s purpose is to manage reputation, retain loyal customers, and generate awareness. Given that a brand is the sum of its parts, the ranking proves that an issue with any of these things could trigger a chain reaction, negatively impacting a brand’s bottom line.

So is it worth companies investing in their brand? All signs point to yes, for now.

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Markets

How the Top Cryptocurrencies Performed in 2021

Cryptocurrencies had a breakout year in 2021, providing plenty of volatility and strong returns across crypto’s various sectors.

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crypto prices 2021

The Returns of Top Cryptocurrencies in 2021

2021 saw the crypto markets boom and mature, with different sectors flourishing and largely outperforming the market leader, bitcoin.

While bitcoin only managed to return 59.8% last year, the crypto sector’s total market cap grew by 187.5%, with many of the top coins offering four and even five-digit percentage returns.

2021 Crypto Market Roundup

Last year wasn’t just a breakout year for crypto in terms of returns, but also the growing infrastructure’s maturity and resulting decorrelation of individual crypto industries and coins.

Crypto’s infrastructure has developed significantly, and there are now many more onramps for people to buy altcoins that don’t require purchasing and using bitcoin in the process. As a result, many cryptocurrency prices were more dictated by the value and functionality of their protocol and applications rather than their correlation to bitcoin.

CryptocurrencyCategory2021 Returns
BitcoinCryptocurrency59.8%
EthereumSmart Contract Platform399.2%
Binance CoinExchange Token1,268.9%
SolanaSmart Contract Platform11,177.8%
CardanoSmart Contract Platform621.3%
XRPCryptocurrency277.8%
TerraSmart Contract Platform12,967.3%
AvalancheSmart Contract Platform3,334.8%
PolkadotSmart Contract Platform187.9%
DogecoinMeme Coin3,546.0%

Sources: TradingView, Binance, Uniswap, FTX, Bittrex

Bitcoin wasn’t the only cryptocurrency that didn’t manage to reach triple-digit returns in 2021. Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash also provided meagre double-digit percentage returns, as payment-focused cryptocurrencies were largely ignored for projects with smart contract capabilities.

Other older projects like Stellar Lumens (109%) and XRP (278%) provided triple-digit returns, with Cardano (621%) being the best performer of the old guard despite not managing to ship its smart contract functionality last year.

The Rise of the Ethereum Competitors

Ethereum greatly outpaced bitcoin in 2021, returning 399.2% as the popularity boom of NFTs and creation of DeFi 2.0 protocols like Olympus (OHM) expanded possible use-cases.

But with the rise of network activity, a 50% increase in transfers in 2021, Ethereum gas fees surged. From minimums of $20 for a single transaction, to NFT mint prices starting around $40 and going into the hundreds on congested network days, crypto’s retail crowd migrated to other smart contract platforms with lower fees.

Alternative budding smart contract platforms like Solana (11,178%), Avalanche (3,335%), and Fantom (13,207%) all had 4-5 digit percentage returns, as these protocols built out their own decentralized finance ecosystems and NFT markets.

With Ethereum set to merge onto the beacon chain this year, which uses proof of stake instead of proof of work, we’ll see if 2022 brings lower gas fees and retail’s return to Ethereum if the merge is successful.

Dog Coins Meme their Way to the Top

While many new cryptocurrencies with strong functionality and unique use-cases were rewarded with strong returns, it was memes that powered the greatest returns in cryptocurrencies this past year.

Dogecoin’s surge after Elon Musk’s “adoption” saw many other dog coins follow, with SHIB benefitting the most and returning an astounding 19.85 million percent.

But ever since Dogecoin’s run from $0.07 to a high of $0.74 in Q2 of last year, the original meme coin’s price has slowly bled -77% down to $0.17 at the time of writing. After the roller coaster ride of last year, 2022 started with a positive catalyst for Dogecoin holders as Elon Musk announced DOGE can be used to purchase Tesla merchandise.

Gamifying the Crypto Industry

The intersection between crypto, games, and the metaverse became more than just a pipe dream in 2021. Axie Infinity was the first crypto native game to successfully establish a play to earn structure that combines its native token (AXS) and in-game NFTs, becoming a sensation and source of income for many in the Philippines.

Other crypto gaming projects like Defi Kingdoms are putting recognizable game interfaces on decentralized finance applications, with the decentralized exchange becoming the town’s “marketplace” and yield farms being the “gardens” where yield is harvested. This fantasy aesthetic is more than just a new coat of paint, as the project with $1.04B of total value locked is developing an underlying play-to-earn game.

Along with gamification, 2021 saw crypto native and non-crypto developers put a big emphasis on the digital worlds or metaverses users will inhabit. Facebook’s name change to Meta resulted in the two prominent metaverse projects The Sandbox (SAND) and Decentraland (MANA) surge another few hundred percent to finish off the year at 16,261% and 4,104% returns respectively.

With so many eyes on the crypto sector after the 2021’s breakout year, we’ll see how developing U.S. regulation and changing macro conditions affect cryptocurrencies in 2022.

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Energy

The Periodic Table of Commodity Returns (2012-2021)

Energy fuels led the way as commodity prices surged in 2021, with only precious metals providing negative returns.

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The Periodic Table of Commodity Returns (2022 Edition)

For investors, 2021 was a year in which nearly every asset class finished in the green, with commodities providing some of the best returns.

The S&P Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI) was the third best-performing asset class in 2021, returning 37.1% and beating out real estate and all major equity indices.

This graphic from U.S. Global Investors tracks individual commodity returns over the past decade, ranking them based on their individual performance each year.

Commodity Prices Surge in 2021

After a strong performance from commodities (metals especially) in the year prior, 2021 was all about energy commodities.

The top three performers for 2021 were energy fuels, with coal providing the single best annual return of any commodity over the past 10 years at 160.6%. According to U.S. Global Investors, coal was also the least volatile commodity of 2021, meaning investors had a smooth ride as the fossil fuel surged in price.

Commodity2021 Returns
Coal160.61%
Crude Oil55.01%
Gas46.91%
Aluminum42.18%
Zinc31.53%
Nickel26.14%
Copper25.70%
Corn22.57%
Wheat20.34%
Lead18.32%
Gold-3.64%
Platinum-9.64%
Silver-11.72%
Palladium-22.21%

Source: U.S. Global Investors

The only commodities in the red this year were precious metals, which failed to stay positive despite rising inflation across goods and asset prices. Gold and silver had returns of -3.6% and -11.7% respectively, with platinum returning -9.6% and palladium, the worst performing commodity of 2021, at -22.2%.

Aside from the precious metals, every other commodity managed double-digit positive returns, with four commodities (crude oil, coal, aluminum, and wheat) having their best single-year performances of the past decade.

Energy Commodities Outperform as the World Reopens

The partial resumption of travel and the reopening of businesses in 2021 were both powerful catalysts that fueled the price rise of energy commodities.

After crude oil’s dip into negative prices in April 2020, black gold had a strong comeback in 2021 as it returned 55.01% while being the most volatile commodity of the year.

Natural gas prices also rose significantly (46.91%), with the UK and Europe’s natural gas prices rising even more as supply constraints came up against the winter demand surge.

Energy commodity returns 2021

Despite being the second worst performer of 2020 with the clean energy transition on the horizon, coal was 2021’s best commodity.

High electricity demand saw coal return in style, especially in China which accounts for one-third of global coal consumption.

Base Metals Beat out Precious Metals

2021 was a tale of two metals, as precious metals and base metals had opposing returns.

Copper, nickel, zinc, aluminum, and lead, all essential for the clean energy transition, kept up last year’s positive returns as the EV batteries and renewable energy technologies caught investors’ attention.

Demand for these energy metals looks set to continue in 2022, with Tesla having already signed a $1.5 billion deal for 75,000 tonnes of nickel with Talon Metals.

Metals price performance 2021

On the other end of the spectrum, precious metals simply sunk like a rock last year.

Investors turned to equities, real estate, and even cryptocurrencies to preserve and grow their investments, rather than the traditionally favorable gold (-3.64%) and silver (-11.72%). Platinum and palladium also lagged behind other commodities, only returning -9.64% and -22.21% respectively.

Grains Bring Steady Gains

In a year of over and underperformers, grains kept up their steady track record and notched their fifth year in a row of positive returns.

Both corn and wheat provided double-digit returns, with corn reaching eight-year highs and wheat reaching prices not seen in over nine years. Overall, these two grains followed 2021’s trend of increasing food prices, as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s food price index reached a 10-year high, rising by 17.8% over the course of the year.

Grains price performance 2021

As inflation across commodities, assets, and consumer goods surged in 2021, investors will now be keeping a sharp eye for a pullback in 2022. We’ll have to wait and see whether or not the Fed’s plans to increase rates and taper asset purchases will manage to provide price stability in commodities.

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