Amazon displaced Apple as the world’s most valuable brand on Kantar’s annual Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking. The once-online-only retailer continues to grow its brick-and-mortar presence; seen here is one of its book stores.
London—A new survey commissioned by marketing and advertising agency WPP has ranked Amazon above Apple in an index of the world’s top brands.

The annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking, conducted by Kantar and released last week at the New York Stock Exchange, combines market data from Bloomberg with data from millions of consumers to evaluate brands that are either owned by publicly traded companies or publish their financials.

This year, Amazon occupies the top spot in the index, overtaking Apple, which ranked No. 2, and Google, which ranked No. 3.

WPP and Kantar attributed this to Amazon’s smart technology, which has led to new revenue streams, its emphasis on customer service and its diverse array of products and services.

The once-online-only retailer continues to grow in myriad ways, including by expanding its brick-and-mortar presence with more book stores and the opening of technology-driven, cashier-less grocery stores.

“We’re seeing a move from individual product and service brands to a new era of highly disruptive ecosystems. Brands need to understand the value this type of model can create and should embrace its approach to be successful in the future,” said David Roth, BrandZ chairman and CEO of The Store WPP EMEA and Asia.

Doreen Wang, Kantar’s global head of BrandZ, said: “Amazon’s phenomenal brand value growth of almost $108 billion in the last year demonstrates how brands are now less anchored to individual categories and regions.

“Using their consumer experience and expertise, these brands are crossing over into the business services sector, creating new opportunities for brand growth.” 

Morgan Holt, chief strategy officer at brand and retail consultancy Fitch, also said customer service was a major reason why Amazon’s value continues to increase.

“A customer looking to connect with or purchase a product from their chosen brand in today’s world is looking for a smooth and frictionless experience: easy navigation, painless transactions, and a genuine, personal form of contact,” she said in an e-mail to National Jeweler.

“Amazon’s platform sells immediacy, and its stellar customer service ticks all the right boxes. Likewise with Apple, its various help forums and simple navigation support a wide network of customers as they set out to achieve a task. Convenience is king, but a smooth journey is the jewel in the king’s crown.”

After Amazon, Apple and Google, Microsoft occupies the No. 4 spot in the BrandZ rankings, Visa the No. 5 spot and Facebook the No. 6 spot.

Chinese retailer Alibaba was No. 7 and Chinese technology company Tencent was No. 8.

Rounding out the top 10 were McDonald’s at No. 9 and AT&T in the No. 10 position.

The fastest riser in the index was social media platform Instagram, which jumped 47 places since last year’s rankings, followed by Lululemon, the athletic apparel company.

Overall, WPP and Kantar said that though technology and finance companies accounted for the bulk of the companies on the list, luxury was the fastest-growing category, followed by retail.

The latter two categories are being fueled by their embrace of digital shopping channels suited to Gen Y and Gen Z consumers, they said.

The index also showed an increase in the number of “sustainable” brands, or brands that work to communicate their responsible practices, whether through social, environmental or corporate initiatives, to consumers.

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