Amazon has become the world's most valuable brand, overtaking Google and Apple for the first time in more than a decade, according to the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands rankings, released today by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown.
The ecommerce giant has increased its brand value by 52% year on year to reach $315.5bn (£248bn), moving it ahead of Apple in second place, whose brand value increased by 3% to $309.5bn, followed by Google, whose brand value grew 2% to $309bn.
BrandZ credited Amazon's performance to "smart acquisitions that brought new revenue streams, outstanding customer service and its ability to stay ahead of competitors by offering a diverse ‘ecosystem’ of products and services".
Three UK brands made it into the top 100. The highest-placed was Vodafone at number 49, followed by HSBC at 56th and Shell at 65th.
Instagram is the fastest riser, climbing 47 places from 91st last year to 44th in 2019, recording a 95% growth in brand value. Netflix and Uber also performed well, with the former growing by 65% in brand value to reach 34th, while the taxi app's brand value increased by 51% to reach 53rd from 81st in 2018.
The top 10
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Graham Staplehurst, global strategy director – BrandZ at Kantar, said that while the top 100 brands had not grown as fast as they did in 2018, they were still increasing at twice the rate of the global economy as a whole.
"These brands are responding best to a volatile world in which they must continually anticipate and reset, evolving consumer needs and expectations," he said. "Brands are now less anchored to specific categories; technology allows them to innovate and disrupt by moving across old boundaries. Amazon, for example, operates in 15 different areas and meshes its activities together in a way that consumers find highly relevant."
Amazon's surge in value reflected the fact that the company was now associated with "a certain type of experience: one that encourages progress", Morgan Holt, chief strategy officer at brand and retail consultancy Fitch, said.
"The Amazon customer experience is truly unique," he continued. "An unmatched pioneer in convenience, its immediacy and accessibility has amassed a global customer base who now use Amazon as part of their daily lives.
"Our own data model – which codifies what customers expect from the experiences brands offer – indicates that customers now expect Amazon to have evolved to foster exploration and learning. Meeting the basic human instinct to progress, alongside a flawless service execution, is what allows Amazon to stand out from the generic retail category, as well as topple Google and Apple from the top spots."