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.
Ranked: The 20 Best Franchises to Open in the U.S.
Considering factors like the cost of investment and number of locations, this graphic breaks down the best franchises in the U.S.
Ranked: The 20 Best Franchises in the U.S.
The U.S. is famous for chain restaurants, franchised shops, and brand name hotels. One thing these franchises aim for is consistency in store feel, customer service, product offerings, and prices, no matter which state you’re in.
This visualization uses Entrepreneur’s annual Franchise 500 Ranking to showcase the best franchises in the U.S. worth owning, from Dunkin’ Donuts to Snap-on Tools.
The Best and How They Were Selected
The report assessed five broad categories to score the country’s famous chains:
- Costs & fees: including franchise fee, total investment needed to open one store, and royalty fees
- Support: including training times, marketing support, operational support, franchisor infrastructure, financing infrastructure, and litigation
- Size & growth: including open & operating units, growth rate, and closures
- Brand strength: including social media, system size, years in business, years franchising
- Financial strength & stability: including franchisor’s audited financial statements
A franchise was only considered if it was actively seeking new franchisees and must have already had at least 10 units operating.
Here’s a closer look at the top 20:
|Rank||Franchise||Initial Investment Needed||Global Units 2022|
|#1||Taco Bell||$576K - $3.4M||7,900|
|#2||Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen||$384K - $3.5M||3,851|
|#3||Jersey Mike's Subs||$194K - $955K||2,402|
|#4||The UPS Store||$122K - $508K||5,464|
|#5||Dunkin'||$438K - $1.8M||12,957|
|#6||Kumon||$67K - $146K||26,527|
|#7||Ace Hardware||$292K - $2.1M||5,746|
|#8||Culver's||$2.3M - $5.8M||871|
|#9||Hampton by Hilton||$12.3M - $22.8M||2,824|
|#10||Wingstop||$315K - $948K||1,873|
|#11||Tropical Smoothie Cafe||$277K - $584K||1,142|
|#12||Arby's||$629K - $2.3M||3,561|
|#13||KFC||$1.4M - $3.2M||26,498|
|#14||McDonald's||$1.4M - $2.5M||39,696|
|#15||Wendy's||$330K - $3.7M||7,049|
|#16||Servpro||$217K - $271K||2,050|
|#17||Smoothie King||$264K - $1.2M||1,373|
|#18||7-Eleven||$125K - $1.3M||81,887|
|#19||Budget Blinds||$141K - $212K||1,378|
|#20||Snap-on Tools||$201K - $465K||4,771|
The number one franchise, Taco Bell, has been in business since 1964 and has 7,900 locations as of 2022, spanning beyond the U.S. to Canada, Australia, Europe, and other regions of the world. The average cost of investment to be a franchisee is between $576,000 to $3.4 million.
While most of the top 20 are in the food service industry, there is also one hotel, one shipping company, and a few hardware and home goods stores that make the list.
Ace Hardware (#7), for example, which specializes in home improvement goods, is actually an international franchise with close to 6,000 units. Kumon (#6) is an education center and is the only non-U.S. franchise on the list.
The Feasibility of Being a Franchisee
To get a better sense of the costs needed to start a franchise, let’s take a look at one of the most famous convenience stores in the world. Here’s a sample of the different fees involved in 7-Eleven’s initial franchisee process:
|Initial Franchise Fee||$0 - $1,000,000|
|Initial Investment||$125,250 - $1,333,500|
|Cash Requirement||$50,000 - $250,000|
|Veteran Incentives||10-20% off franchise fee, up to $50,000; preferred interest rates and special financing|
|Ad Royalty Fee||1%|
|Term of Agreement||15 years|
|Is franchise term renewable?||Yes|
In terms of low-cost franchises, 7-Eleven is among one of the cheapest to open, according to Entrepreneur, sometimes costing less than $150K. Other franchises with lower cost barriers of entry include UPS ($122K – $508K) and Cinnabon ($112K – $547K).
There is more to consider than cost, of course, and some franchises provide better support than others in aspects such as financing, industry training, or legal support. Popeye’s, for instance, provides in-house financing for their franchise fee, as well as connections with third-party sources to help cover equipment, inventory, payroll, and other expenses.
Looking at feasibility in regards to opportunities, some of the fastest-growing franchises include chains like Jersey Mike’s Subs and Wingstop. Here’s a closer look at the Franchise 500’s fastest growing list:
- #1 Stratus Building Solutions
- #2 Jersey Mike’s Subs
- #3 Goosehead Insurance
- #4 Signal
- #5 Wingstop
In total there are almost 800,000 franchises in the U.S. The franchise market in the country has an economic output of over $825 billion and employs over 8.4 million people. With many of these franchises continuing to grow and seek new franchisees, there is ample opportunity in the market.
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