Brand market crash: industry giants suffer major declines as Amazon ranked world’s most valuable brand

  • Industries across the board suffer brand value declines in latest Brand Finance report
  • Amazon reclaims most valuable brand title from Apple, despite 15% drop in value
  • Tech brands suffer significantly, while TikTok and BYD are outliers of success in China

Amazon has reclaimed its crown as the world’s most valuable brand, despite a global downturn in brand value across industries and a turbulent year for tech brands in particular, according to the latest Brand Finance Global 500.

Apple had been sitting atop the brand value rankings for two years, after wrestling the title from Amazon in 2020. But Amazon’s return to the number one spot this year is not a straightforward success story. Last year, Amazon joined Apple in crossing the $300 billion brand value mark. This year, the pair have dipped below that milestone – Amazon’s brand value dropping 15% to $299.3 billion and Apple’s dropping 16% to $297.5 billion.

“Amazon has failed to meet expected targets, with significant cost cutting and layoffs depressing its brand value,” Brand Finance reports. Despite this, Amazon's brand value is still up 36% since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic, thanks to its dominant position across multiple sectors, including online retail, cloud computing, voice automation and digital streaming.

But half of the world’s 10 most valuable brands have seen their value decline this year. If it were not for a staggering 44% increase in Tesla’s brand value (rising from $46 billion last year to $66.2 billion this year), the top 10 would have been reporting an average 3% decline in value. As it stands, they saw an average 2% increase – worryingly low compared to the average 22% increase among the top 10 last year.

Top 25 most valuable brands in the world

2023 rank

2022 rank

Brand name

Country of operation

Industry

2023 brand value

Year-on-year change

1

2

Amazon

United States

Retail

$299.3 billion

-15%

2

1

Apple

United States

Tech

$297.5 billion

-16%

3

3

Google

United States

Media

$281.4 billion

7%

4

4

Microsoft

United States

Tech

$191.6 billion

4%

5

5

Walmart

United States

Retail

$113.8 billion

2%

6

6

Samsung Group

South Korea

Tech

$99.7 billion

-7%

7

8

ICBC

China

Banking

$69.5 billion

-7%

8

10

Verizon

United States

Telecoms

$67.4 billion

-3%

9

28

Tesla

United States

Automobiles

$66.2 billion

44%

10

18

TikTok / Douyin

China

Media

$65.7 billion

11%

11

17

Deutsche Telekom

Germany

Telecoms

$62.9 billion

5%

12

11

China Construction Bank

China

Banking

$62.7 billion

-4%

13

20

Home Depot

United States

Retail

$61.1 billion

8%

14

7

Facebook

United States

Media

$59 billion

-42%

15

16

State Grid

China

Utilities

$58.8 billion

-2%

16

15

Mercedes-Benz

Germany

Automobiles

$58.8 billion

-3%

17

14

Agricultural Bank of China

China

Banking

$57.7 billion

-7%

18

29

Starbucks

United States

Restaurants

$53.4 billion

17%

19

12

Toyota

Japan

Automobiles

$52.5 billion

-18%

20

13

WeChat

China

Media

$50.2 billion

-19%

21

32

Moutai

China

Spirits

$49.7 billion

16%

22

26

AT&T

United States

Telecoms

$49.6 billion

6%

23

19

Disney

United States

Media

$49.5 billion

-13%

24

30

Allianz Group

Germany

Insurance

$48.4 billion

7%

25

23

Shell

United Kingdom

Oil and gas

$48.2 billion

-3%

Source: Brand Finance

It is not just the mighty that have fallen. Over a third (38%) of the Global 500 (191 brands) suffered a drop in brand value this year. Last year, the top 100 brands saw an average value increase of 14%. This year, it is a meagre 2%.

Tech brands have taken a particularly heavy hit. Last year, tech brands were leading the charge, with a cumulative brand value of close to $1.3 trillion across the Global 500. This year, there has been a significant downturn. The cumulative brand value of tech brands in the Global 500 has dropped roughly 9% to $1.18 trillion. Meanwhile, the cumulative value of tech brands in the top 100 has dropped over 5% to $891.3 billion.

Among the top 20 tech brands this year, Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Cisco, Intel and Sony have all suffered at least a 10% drop in value. Huawei, in particular, has lost a whopping 38% in value (going from $71.2 billion in 2022 to $44.3 billion in 2023).

“Technology brands across the world have lost significant value in response to shifting demand patterns,” comments Brand Finance chair and CEO David Haigh. “Inflation has affected brands across many sectors, but as consumer habits partially revert to pre-pandemic patterns, demand for the services of tech brands has been hit particularly hard. Additionally, disrupted supply chains, labour shortages, and greater obstacles to financing have left their mark.”

It is this change in consumer habit and disruption to supply chains in particular that the company attributes, respectively, to Amazon’s and Apple’s declining brand value.

Indeed, the downturn in tech brand value echoes the industry’s struggles on the stock markets. Earlier this week, we reported that the tech industry suffered notable losses throughout 2022 as investors questioned their sustained growth post-pandemic. Among them, Apple was down 136 points year on year.

Top five industry comparison of brand value among top 100 brands

Industry

2022 total brand value

2023 total brand value

% change in total brand value

2022 average brand value

2023 average brand value

% change in average brand value

Technology

$940 billion

$891.3 billion

-5.2%

$72.3 billion

$63.7 billion

-11.9%

Retail

$835.8 billion

$690.1 billion

-17.4%

$64.3 billion

$69 billion

-7.3%

Media

$676.4 billion

$645.1 billion

-4.6%

$75.2 billion

$71.7 billion

-4.7%

Banking

$455.9 billion

$467.3 billion

+2.5%

$41.5 billion

$38.9 billion

-6.3%

Automotive

$400.4 billion

$397.5 billion

-0.7%

$40 billion

$39.8 billion

-0.5%

Source: Brand Finance

Media brands have also taken a hit – each brand in the 500 falling an average 3% in value. Of these, Facebook has suffered the greatest loss (down 42% to $59 billion). As a result, it has fallen from seventh to 14th position in the rankings. However, Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook parent company Meta, saw a 42% increase in brand value this year (going from $33.5 billion last year to $47.4 billion in the 2023 listings) – making it the 12th fastest-growing brand of the year. Of all media brands, only LinkedIn saw a greater proportional increase – up 49% to $15.5 billion.

TikTok is also continuing its upward trajectory. The video hosting platform was the fastest-growing brand last year, breaking into the top 20 after a staggering 215% jump in brand value. This year, it continues to climb the rankings, now breaking into the top 10 with an 11% increase to $65.7 billion.

Chinese automotive brand BYD is also showing substantial growth. Up 57% on last year, the brand is now valued at $10.1 billion thanks to its strong focus on the budget/economy electric vehicle market and plans for expansion.

But not all Chinese brands have weathered the storm so well. Alibaba.com has suffered the biggest proportional drop of any brand in the Global 500. The e-commerce giant’s brand value has plummeted 56% from $22.8 billion last year to $10 billion this year. And it is not alone. Chinese retail competitors Tmall, Taobao, JD.com and Pinduoduo have all seen their brand value decrease – down 44%, 43%, 30% and 16%, respectively. Meanwhile, Chinese media brands Baidu, WeChat, Tencent and NetEase have also fallen in the rankings, dropping 21%, 19%, 18% and 10% in brand value, respectively.

Across the board, Chinese brands have suffered an average 2% drop in value. By comparison, US brands have seen an average 7% increase.

But China is not the only country to see local brands on a downward slope.

Japanese brands have also seen an overall decline in average brand value. Between them, the 32 Japanese brands in the Global 500 suffered an average 6% decrease in value this year. Worse still, Swedish brands are down 14% on average. This has been largely driven by a 38% in drop in Volvo’s brand value and a 26% drop in H&M’s.

Russian brands have fared the worst on average. The three Russian brands in the Global 500 (oil and gas brands Gazprom and Lukoil, and banking brand Sber) have all seen a drop in value this year – on average by 14%. This is hardly surprising, considering the impact that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 continues to have on global relations, supply chains and consumer perceptions of Russian brands.

This year’s Brand Finance Global 500 reflects the tumultuous times that we are living in. The covid-19 pandemic, fears of a global recession and the war in Ukraine are continuing to impact brand performance around the world, and this is reflected in an overall decline in brand value among the world’s biggest companies.

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