World’s top 100 brands are now worth $3.3 trillion to businesses.

Apple has overtaken Google to reclaim the title of ‘world’s most valuable brand’ in the 2015 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, released today by WPP and Millward Brown. Apple has increased its brand value to $247 billion, a rise of 67% year on year. Google (no.2) also grew, achieving a 9% value increase to reach $173.7bn. Microsoft, now worth $115.5bn, is the new no.3, rising one position with value growth of 28%.

Though the AppleWatch has proved extremely popular, it is the success of the iPhone 6 that has been the main driver of Apple’s brand value growth. Doreen Wang, Millward Brown’s Global Head of BrandZ, said, “Apple continues to ‘own’ its category by innovating and leading the curve in a way that generates real benefits for consumers. It meets their rational and emotional needs, and makes life easier in a fun and relevant way. Apple is clear on what it stands for, and never stops refreshing its message to sustain the difference that makes it so desirable.”

The total brand value of the Top 100 now stands at $3.3 trillion, a 14% increase on 2014 and a 126% growth over the 10 years since the ranking was first launched.

David Roth of WPP said, “Brand value has risen substantially despite a disruptive decade. This is a pivotal moment for brand builders. We’re at the threshold of a new normal, and a changing consumer. The past 10 years of valuing brands proves that investing in creating strong, valuable brands delivers superior returns to shareholders.”

The BrandZ Top 10 Most Valuable Global Brands 2015

    Rank                                Brand value    Brand value
    2015      Brand        Category      2015 ($M)       change      Rank 2014
          1 Apple      Technology            246,992      67%            2
          2 Google     Technology            173,652       9%            1
          3 Microsoft  Technology            115,500      28%            4
          4 IBM        Technology             93,987     -13%            3
          5 Visa       Payments               91,962      16%            7
          6 AT&T       providers              89,492      15%            8
          7 Verizon    providers              86,009      36%           11
          8 Coca-Cola* Soft drinks            83,841       4%            6
          9 McDonald's Fast food              81,162      -5%            5
         10 Marlboro   Tobacco                80,352      19%            9

* The Brand Value of Coca-Cola includes Lights, Diets and Zero

Highlights and key findings from this year’s BrandZ Top 100 study include:

  • Technology is the fastest-growing category up 24% in the last year, the tech brands in the Top 100 are worth more than $1 trillion, nearly a third of the value of all brands in the ranking.
  • Facebook is the fastest riser, with 99% growth achieved through its successful strategy of acquiring and integrating other social apps such as Instagram and WhatsApp, and an understanding of how to monetise and cross-sell its platforms.
  • E-commerce boosts retail brand value as Alibaba enters ranking and overtakes Amazon  Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba entered the retail ranking at $66.4bn, helping to grow the retail category ranking by 24% and overtaking both Amazon and Walmart. The most valuable retail brands Alibaba and Amazon, which lack physical stores, are now worth more than Walmart, which has 11,000 stores worldwide.

The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands is now in its tenth year. Analysis of the 10-year trajectory of the brands in the ranking has revealed that:

  • Europes brand powerhouses stagnate as Chinese brands grow and US brands make a comeback. The number of Chinese brands continues to grow with 14 brands in the Top 100, up from one in 2006, and an increase of 1004% in value. The value of US brands grew by 137% in the last 10 years (up 15% in the last year) compared to just 31% in Europe (down -9.3% in the last year). There are now just 24 brands from Europe in the ranking (down from 35 in 2006). This represents a shift from West to East; most of the brands that have been ‘pushed out’ of the Top 100 by China were from Europe.
  • High value brands provide faster bottom-line growth and shareholder value. In the last 10 years, a measurement of the strongest brands from the Top 100 as a ‘stock portfolio’ shows their share price has risen over three times more than the MSCI World Index and almost two thirds more than the S&P500.

Carried out by WPP’s marketing and brand consultancy Millward Brown, the BrandZTop 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study is the only ranking in the world that uses the views of potential and current buyers of a brand, alongside financial data, to calculate brand value.

The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands report and rankings, and a great deal more brand insight for key regions of the world and 14 market sectors, are available online here. A new suite of interactive smartphone and tablet applications is available for free download for Apple IOS and all Android devices from or search for BrandZ in the respective iTunes or Google Play app stores.

Image: Apple Store in Pudong, Shanghai.
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