The World’s Top 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2021
In 2020, the global economy experienced one of the worst declines since the Great Depression.
Yet, while the ripple effects of COVID-19 have thrown many businesses into disarray, some companies have not only managed to stay afloat amidst the chaos—they’ve thrived. Using data from Kantar BrandZ, this graphic looks at the top 100 most valuable brands of 2021.
Each year, research group Kantar BrandZ ranks companies based on their “brand value,” which is measured by:
- A brand’s total financial value, which is the financial contribution that brand brings to its parent company ($ value).
- Multiplied by its proportional value, measured by the brands proportional impact on its parent company’s sales (% value).
The financial results are then combined with quantitative survey data, sourced from over 170,000 global consumers. The end result is a holistic look at a company’s brand equity, reputation, and ability to generate value.
The total value of 2021’s Top 100 brands grew by 42%, reaching a combined $7 trillion. At the top of the list, perhaps unsurprisingly, is Amazon, with a total brand value of $683 billion.
|Rank||Brand||Brand Value |
|Category||Brand Value %
change from 2020
|1||Amazon||$683.85||Consumer Goods & Retail||64%|
|3||$458.00||Media & Entertainment||42%|
|4||Microsoft||$410.27||Business Solutions & Tech Providers||26%|
|5||Tencent||$240.93||Media & Entertainment||60%|
|6||$226.74||Media & Entertainment||54%|
|7||Alibaba||$196.91||Consumer Goods & Retail||29%|
|9||McDonald's||$154.92||Food & Beverages||20%|
|11||Moutai||$109.33||Food & Beverages||103%|
|12||Nvidia||$104.76||Business Solutions & Tech Providers||n/a|
|15||IBM||$91.34||Business Solutions & Tech Providers||9%|
|16||Coca-Cola||$87.60||Food & Beverages||4%|
|17||Nike||$83.71||Consumer Goods & Retail||68%|
|18||$82.90||Media & Entertainment||100%|
|20||Adobe||$78.52||Business Solutions & Tech Providers||n/a|
|21||Louis Vuitton||$75.73||Consumer Goods & Retail||46%|
|23||Intel||$71.94||Business Solutions & Tech Providers||n/a|
|24||Netflix||$71.13||Media & Entertainment||55%|
|25||The Home Depot||$70.52||Consumer Goods & Retail||22%|
|26||SAP||$69.24||Business Solutions & Tech Providers||20%|
|27||Accenture||$64.73||Business Solutions & Tech Providers||n/a|
|28||Oracle||$60.84||Business Solutions & Tech Providers||n/a|
|29||Starbucks||$60.27||Food & Beverages||26%|
|30||Walmart||$59.52||Consumer Goods & Retail||30%|
|32||Marlboro||$57.01||Consumer Goods & Retail||-2%|
|33||Disney||$55.22||Media & Entertainment||13%|
|35||Texas Instruments||$49.24||Business Solutions & Tech Providers||n/a|
|36||Salesforce||$48.98||Business Solutions & Tech Providers||61%|
|37||Qualcomm||$48.36||Business Solutions & Tech Providers||n/a|
|39||YouTube||$47.10||Media & Entertainment||39%|
|40||Chanel||$47.05||Consumer Goods & Retail||30%|
|41||Cisco||$46.82||Business Solutions & Tech Providers||n/a|
|43||Hermès||$46.40||Consumer Goods & Retail||40%|
|44||JD||$44.52||Consumer Goods & Retail||75%|
|45||TikTok||$43.52||Media & Entertainment||158%|
|46||Deutsche Telekom||$43.10||Telecom Providers||16%|
|47||Tesla||$42.61||Cars & Transportation||275%|
|48||L'Oréal Paris||$38.31||Consumer Goods & Retail||30%|
|52||Zoom||$36.93||Business Solutions & Tech Providers||n/a|
|53||Intuit||$35.87||Business Solutions & Tech Providers||n/a|
|54||$35.52||Media & Entertainment||19%|
|55||Costco||$35.14||Consumer Goods & Retail||23%|
|56||Gucci||$33.84||Consumer Goods & Retail||24%|
|57||AMD||$32.92||Business Solutions & Tech Providers||n/a|
|58||Tata Consulting Services||$31.28||Business Solutions & Tech Providers||n/a|
|61||American Express||$28.58||Financial Services||-3%|
|62||Wells Fargo||$28.00||Financial Services||-8%|
|64||Toyota||$26.97||Cars & Transportation||-5%|
|66||HDFC Bank||$26.37||Financial Services||27%|
|67||Mercedes-Benz||$25.84||Cars & Transportation||21%|
|68||China Mobile||$25.82||Telecom Providers||-25%|
|69||Budweiser||$25.55||Food & Beverages||5%|
|71||BMW||$24.82||Cars & Transportation||21%|
|72||Dell Technologies||$24.78||Business Solutions & Tech Providers||36%|
|74||J.P. Morgan||$24.11||Financial Services||37%|
|77||Baidu||$23.36||Media & Entertainment||57%|
|78||Uber||$22.41||Cars & Transportation||41%|
|79||Adidas||$22.34||Consumer Goods & Retail||51%|
|81||Pinduoduo||$21.73||Consumer Goods & Retail||131%|
|82||Snapchat||$21.61||Media & Entertainment||n/a|
|83||Zara||$21.38||Consumer Goods & Retail||0%|
|84||Ikea||$21.02||Consumer Goods & Retail||17%|
|86||Lowe's||$20.67||Consumer Goods & Retail||51%|
|89||Autodesk||$20.45||Business Solutions & Tech Providers||n/a|
|93||Didi Chuxing||$20.04||Cars & Transportation||0%|
|94||China Construction Bank||$19.78||Financial Services||-6%|
|95||Pampers||$19.62||Consumer Goods & Retail||6%|
|96||KE||$19.50||Consumer Goods & Retail||n/a|
|97||Commonwealth Bank||$19.47||Financial Services||48%|
|98||Bank of America||$19.32||Financial Services||14%|
|99||Spotify||$19.28||Media & Entertainment||n/a|
|100||Colgate||$18.89||Consumer Goods & Retail||8%|
It’s the third consecutive year that Amazon has placed first on the list. Since last year’s ranking, the ecommerce brand has seen its value grow by 64%. Keep in mind, this accounts for all areas of Amazon’s business, including its web and subscription services.
Second on the list is Apple with a brand value of $612 billion. Apple wasn’t completely immune to the impacts of COVID-19—in the early days of the pandemic, its stock dipped almost 19% from record highs—but the company recovered and reported record-breaking revenue, generating $64.7 billion in Q4 2020.
It’s fitting that the top brands on the list are big tech companies since the pandemic pushed consumers online for both their shopping and entertainment needs. A few social media platforms placed high on the list as well, like Facebook, which rose two ranks this year to score the sixth spot with a brand value of $227 billion.
Instagram and TikTok trailed behind Facebook when it came to total brand value, but both platforms saw exceptional growth compared to last year’s report. In fact, when looking at brand value growth from 2020, both brands scored a spot in the top 10.
Insights into Brand Value Growth
The most valuable brand report has been ranking companies for over a decade, and some overarching factors have stood out as key contributors to brand value growth:
1. The Big Get Bigger
Starting “strong” can give brands an edge. This is because growth rate is closely correlated with high brand equity. In other words, a strong brand will likely see more growth than a weaker brand, which might explain why companies like Amazon and Apple have been able to hold their place at the top for several consecutive years.
Keep in mind, this doesn’t account for industry disruptors. An innovative company could come out of the woodwork next year and give the Big Tech giants a run for their money.
2. Marketing Makes a Difference
The right strategy can make a difference, and even smaller brands can make a splash if the message is impactful. Brands with emotional associations, like pride or popularity, tend to see that translate into brand value growth.
Companies like Nike and Coca-Cola have mastered the art of emotional advertising. For instance, in May last year, Nike released a video urging consumers to stand up for equality, in a video titled, “For Once, Just Don’t Do It.”
3. Smart Investment
It’s not just about developing an effective marketing strategy, it’s about executing that strategy, and continually investing in ways that perpetuate your brand message.
For instance, innovation is the core value of Tesla’s brand, and the electric car company walks the walk—in 2020, the company spent $1.5 billion on R&D.
The World’s Biggest Real Estate Bubbles in 2021
According to UBS, there are nine real estate markets that are in bubble territory with prices rising to unsustainable levels.
Ranked: The World’s Biggest Real Estate Bubbles in 2021
Identifying real estate bubbles is a tricky business. After all, even though many of us “know a bubble when we see it”, we don’t have tangible proof of a bubble until it actually bursts.
And by then, it’s too late.
The map above, based on data from the Real Estate Bubble Index by UBS, serves as an early warning system, evaluating 25 global cities and scoring them based on their bubble risk.
Reading the Signs
Bubbles are hard to distinguish in real-time as investors must judge whether a market’s pricing accurately reflects what will happen in the future. Even so, there are some signs to watch out for.
As one example, a decoupling of prices from local incomes and rents is a common red flag. As well, imbalances in the real economy, such as excessive construction activity and lending can signal a bubble in the making.
With this in mind, which global markets are exhibiting the most bubble risk?
The Geography of Real Estate Bubbles
Europe is home to a number of cities that have extreme bubble risk, with Frankfurt topping the list this year. Germany’s financial hub has seen real home prices rise by 10% per year on average since 2016—the highest rate of all cities evaluated.
Two Canadian cities also find themselves in bubble territory: Toronto and Vancouver. In the former, nearly 30% of purchases in 2021 went to buyers with multiple properties, showing that real estate investment is alive and well. Despite efforts to cool down these hot urban markets, Canadian markets have rebounded and continued their march upward. In fact, over the past three decades, residential home prices in Canada grew at the fastest rates in the G7.
Despite civil unrest and unease over new policies, Hong Kong still has the second highest score in this index. Meanwhile, Dubai is listed as “undervalued” and is the only city in the index with a negative score. Residential prices have trended down for the past six years and are now down nearly 40% from 2014 levels.
Note: The Real Estate Bubble Index does not currently include cities in Mainland China.
Trending Ever Upward
Overheated markets are nothing new, though the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the dynamic of real estate markets.
For years, house price appreciation in city centers was all but guaranteed as construction boomed and people were eager to live an urban lifestyle. Remote work options and office downsizing is changing the value equation for many, and as a result, housing prices in non-urban areas increased faster than in cities for the first time since the 1990s.
Even so, these changing priorities haven’t deflated the real estate market in the world’s global cities. Below are growth rates for 2021 so far, and how that compares to the last five years.
Overall, prices have been trending upward almost everywhere. All but four of the cities above—Milan, Paris, New York, and San Francisco—have had positive growth year-on-year.
Even as real estate bubbles continue to grow, there is an element of uncertainty. Debt-to-income ratios continue to rise, and lending standards, which were relaxed during the pandemic, are tightening once again. Add in the societal shifts occurring right now, and predicting the future of these markets becomes more difficult.
In the short term, we may see what UBS calls “the era of urban outperformance” come to an end.
Mapped: Distribution of Global GDP by Region
Where does the world’s economic activity take place? This cartogram shows the $94 trillion global economy divided into 1,000 hexagons.
Mapped: The Distribution of Global GDP by Region
Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the value of goods and services that an economy produces in a given year, but in a global context, it is typically shown using country-level data.
As a result, we don’t often get to see the nuances of the global economy, such as how much specific regions and metro areas contribute to global GDP.
In these cartograms, global GDP has been normalized to a base number of 1,000 in order to show a more regional breakdown of economic activity. Created by Reddit user /BerryBlue_Blueberry, the two maps show the distribution in different ways: by nominal GDP and by GDP adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP).
Before diving in, let us give you some context on how these maps were designed. Each hexagon on the two maps represents 0.1% of the world’s overall GDP.
The number below each region, country or metropolitan area represents the number of hexagons covered by that entity. So in the nominal GDP map, the state of New York represents 20 hexagons (i.e. 2.0% of global GDP), while Munich’s metro area is 3 hexagons (0.3%).
Countries are further broken down based on size. Countries that make up more than 0.95% of global GDP are broken down into subdivisions, while countries that are smaller than 0.1% of GDP are grouped together. Metro areas that account for over 0.25% of global GDP are featured.
Finally, it should be noted that to account for some outdated subdivision participation data, the map creator calculated 2021 estimates for this using the formula: national GDP (2021) x % of subdivision participation (2017-2020).
Nominal vs. PPP
The above map is using nominal data, while the below map accounts for differences in purchasing power (PPP).
Adjusting for PPP takes into account the relative value of currencies and purchasing power in countries around the world. For example, $100 (or its exchange equivalent in Indian rupees) is generally going to be able to buy more in India than it is in the United States.
This is because goods and services are cheaper in India, meaning you can actually purchase more there for the same amount of money.
Anomalies in Global GDP Distribution
Breaking down global GDP distribution into cartograms highlights some interesting anomalies worth considering:
- North America, Europe, and East Asia, with a combined GDP of nearly $75 trillion, make up 80% of the world’s GDP in nominal terms.
- The U.S. State of California accounts for 3.7% of the world’s GDP by itself, which ranks higher than the United Kingdom’s total contribution of 3.3%.
- Canada as a country accounts for 2% of the world’s GDP, which is comparable to the GDP contribution of the Greater Tokyo Area at 2.2%.
- With a GDP of $3 trillion, India’s contribution overshadows the GDP of the whole African continent ($2.6 trillion).
- This visualization highlights the economic might of cities better than a conventional map. One standout example of this is in Ontario, Canada. The Greater Toronto Area completely eclipses the economy of the rest of the province.
Inequality of GDP Distribution
The fact that certain countries generate most of the world’s economic output is reflected in the above cartograms, which resize countries or regions accordingly.
Compared to wealthier nations, emerging economies still account for just a tiny sliver of the pie.
India, for example, accounts for 3.2% of global GDP in nominal terms, even though it contains 17.8% of the world’s population.
That’s why on the nominal map, India is about the same size as France, the United Kingdom, or Japan’s two largest metro areas (Tokyo and Osaka-Kobe)—but of course, these wealthier places have a far higher GDP per capita.
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