Amazon Tops in Brand Value

The online giant lead Brand Finance’s annual ranking, but the results also showed a resurgence for more traditional retail names.

By Evan Clark on January 22, 2020

What’s in a name?

In the case of Amazon, the answer is $221 billion.

That’s the value London-based consultancy Brand Finance assigned to the e-commerce leader’s brand last year, making it the most valuable name in the firm’s global ranking of 500 brands and the first to breach the $200 billion mark.

This is the third consecutive year at the top for Amazon, which saw its value grow 18 percent from 2018.

But Brand Finance also noted that simply being digital isn’t enough anymore.

“Forty-four retail brands feature in this year’s ranking alongside Amazon, with a combined value of nearly $800 billion, making the sector the third most valuable behind tech and banking,” according to the Brand Finance report, released Wednesday. “As the boost from the novelty of operating in the digital space fizzles out, some online retailers have started to lose brand value, while bricks-and-mortar chains, which have learnt to successfully adapt to the changing marketplace, are consequently making gains.”

EBay, for instance, saw its brand value fall 9 percent to $8.2 billion as it failed “to maintain relevance in an increasingly monopolized sector.”

The brand value of Walmart rose 14 percent to $77.5 billion, moving it up to eighth place in the ranking as it adds more digital savvy to its brick-and-mortar dominance.

“As well as committing to its expansion program in key markets, Walmart has focused on an innovative digital proposition, through a partnership with Microsoft and with the launch of Alphabot — robots that pick and pack online grocery orders at high speeds,” Brand Finance said.

The consultancy determines the value of brands using a process that, in part, calculates how large a royalty the owner could charge for licensing the name on the open market.

It’s a system that gets to the financial might of the brand itself.

And while the big tech players — Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung — took the top five spots in the ranking, fashion brands did make a showing in the top 100. Nike ranked 40th with a value of $35 billion and Gucci came in 99th with a value of $18 billion (jumping 20.2 percent and 19 places from a year earlier).

Ranking in the top 200 were Adidas (109), Louis Vuitton (110), Target (114), Cartier (123), Zara (128), Aldi (130), H&M (135), Chanel (136), Uniqlo (143), Hermès (154), L’Oréal (157), Sephora (170) and T.J. Maxx (189).