TECHNOLOGY

The most valuable brands in the world are…

BY Marianne Wilson

Technology giants, including a retailer, dominated an annual ranking of the world's most valuable brands.

Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook took the top five places in the 2017 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking, released by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown. More than half of the Top 100’s total brand value was contributed by technology-related brands (a definition that includes telecoms and online retailers), up from a third in 2006. (See end of article for information about the report's methodology.)

Amazon achieved the highest dollar value growth of all brands in the Top 100 ranking, increasing its brand value by $40.3 billion, an increase of 41.1%, to $139.3 billion. Rounding out the top 10 were AT&T, Visa, Tencent, IBM and McDonalds.

Apart from Amazon, only two U.S. retailers cracked the global top 25. Starbucks ranked No. 22, and The Home Depot came in at No. 24. Walmart ranked No. 31. (For the complete Top 100 ranking, click here.)

Retail was the fastest rising category overall, rising 14% in value over the last 12 months, driven by ecommerce brands such as Amazon and Alibaba which, like many native internet companies, continued to add physical stores to their sales channels. Overall the value growth of pure online retailers has increased 388% since 2006, while traditional retailers dropped 23% as they took longer to adapt their offering to include online.

Amazon came on top in the retail category. Its brand value of $139.3 billion was more than double Alibaba, which took the second position with a brand value of $59.1 billion. Here are the top 20 retail brands in the BrandZ report:

Top 20 Retail Brands

1. Amazon

2. Alibaba

3. The Home Depot

4. Walmart

5. Ikea

6. Costco

7. Lowe's

8. Ebay

9. Aldi

10. JD.com

11. Walgreens

12. CVS

13. 7-Eleven

14. Target

15. Tesco

16. Lidl

17. Carrefour

18. Woolworths

19. Kroger

20. Coles

The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking is now in its twelfth year. It combines measures of brand equity based on interviews with over three million consumers globally about thousands of global ‘consumer facing’ and business-to-business brands with a rigorous analysis of the financial and business performance of each company (using data from Bloomberg and Kantar Worldpanel) to separate the value that brand plays in driving business and shareholder value.

The ranking takes into account regional variations since, even for truly global brands, measures of brand contribution might differ substantially across countries.

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TECHNOLOGY

Online giant gives ‘voice shoppers’ first dibs on Prime Day deals

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Days before Prime Day commences, Amazon is upping the ante once again.

Starting Wednesday, July 5, Alexa shoppers will have access to more than 100 exclusive deals on Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Amazon Tap, Fire TV or compatible Fire tablets. Voice shoppers will also get first dibs on select Prime Day deals on July 10, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. PST — two hours before the general public, according to Amazon.

“We have deals on everything from smart home products to devices, chocolates and more starting today and going all the way through July 17,” said Assaf Ronen, VP voice shopping. “Prime members have asked, ‘Alexa, what are your deals?’ more than three million times since we launched Alexa deals last year, and we’re thrilled to deliver even better deals this year.”

Since voice shopping is a benefit exclusively reserved for Prime members, Amazon is giving its non-Prime Alexa users another perk. Shoppers that use the digital voice assistant to sign up for Prime will get a $20 dis-count on a year-long subscription ($79 instead of the usual $99 member-ship fee). The promotion is only available for a limited time, according to Amazon.

The company is also offering a $10 credit for any orders purchased before July 10.

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TECHNOLOGY

Amazon gains huge foothold in Middle East

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon has completed its acquisition of e-commerce company souq.com, a leader in the Middle East's online shopping market. The deal, which was initially announced in March, closed for $580 million in cash, according to filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

And the companies are wasting no time in joining forces. The retailers have already completed an initial integration that allows customers to log into Souq.com using their Amazon account credentials. Next, they plan to integrate products and services between the two sites to leverage their respective scale, according to TechCrunch.

“Joining the Amazon family will enable us to drive further growth, benefit from their technological investment, offer an even wider product selection through worldwide sourcing, deliver an enhanced customer service experience, as well as continue Amazon's great track record of empowering sellers locally and globally,” said Ronaldo Mouchawar, CEO and co-founder of souq.com.

Of course, the deal also gives Amazon a firm presence in the growing and competitive Middle Eastern e-commerce space. Souq.com features more than 8.4 million products across 31 categories, including consumer electronics, fashion, health and beauty, household goods, and baby. The Middle Eastern retailer also attracts over 45 million visits per month, with localized operations in the KSA, UAE and Egypt.

"Amazon and Souq.com share the same DNA— we’re both driven by customers, invention, and long-term thinking,” said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon senior VP, international consumer.

"Souq.com pioneered e-commerce in the Middle East, creating a great shopping experience for their customers,” he added. “We're looking forward to both learning from and supporting them with Amazon technology and global resources. And together, we’ll work hard to provide the best possible service for millions of customers in the Middle East.”

The deal comes on the heels of Amazon’s recent high-profile acquisition of Whole Foods. The online giant purchased the natural foods grocer in June for $13.7 billion.

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