Apple Takes Crown as World's Most Valuable Brand

The Apple brand is worth $234 billion, according to one of the most closely followed brand studies in the world. The figure is up 9% from the same study in 2018. The next brand on the list is not even close. Tech dominated the list. However, car brands made a particularly strong showing.

Interbrand publishes its Best Global Brands Ranking annually. The survey covers 100 brands. To make the list, a brand must have at least 30% of its revenue from outside its home market. It needs to have a significant presence in Asia, Europe and North America, as well as emerging markets. The brand must be part of a company that has public financial reports.

In the second spot, Google had a brand valuation of $168 billion, up 8% from last year. Amazon’s value surged 24% to $126 billion. Its e-commerce dominance has continued, along with its spot as the top cloud computing company in the world. Its Prime subscription business has over 100 million members. This makes it one of the largest streaming video services worldwide. It also has launched a series of artificial intelligence home management devices, the sales of which have been remarkably strong.

In fourth place, Microsoft’s brand value was up 17% to $109 billion. The software company also has made its mark in cloud computing, and it has launched a series of successful hardware products.

Fifth place was taken by Coca-Cola at $63 billion, down 4%. Samsung was next at $61 billion, up 2%, which makes it the largest brand based outside the United States. It was followed by two car companies. Toyota had a brand value of $56 billion, up by 5%. Mercedes value was $51 billion, also up 5%. Toyota is by far the larger car company and often sells the most cars in the world annually. Mercedes is much smaller but usually is considered the preeminent luxury auto brand in the world.

McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast-food chain, was in ninth place, with a value of $45 billion, up 4%. In 10th place, Disney had a brand value of $44 billion, up 11%. Under CEO Bob Iger, it has become widely regarded as the preeminent media company in the world. Disney recently bought entertainment company 21st Century Fox for $71 billion. It is about to launch its own streaming media business, Disney+, to compete with Amazon and Netflix.

Other notable brands on the list included luxury car brand BMW in 11th place with a value of $41 billion, up 1%. It is considered Mercedes’s only major rival worldwide.

Facebook’s value took a major beating. It fell 12% to $40 billion. It has been hit by scandals that include the release of private data of some of its members and accusations that it has been used as a platform for false information. Two other tech brands took a tumble in brand value. IBM dropped 6% to $40 billion. Its sales continue to fall as it struggles with legacy products and services that have not been offset by its modest foray into cloud computing. Intel’s brand value dropped 7% to $40 billion.

Other notable moves included a drop in the brand value of beleaguered General Electric, which was down 22% to $26 billion. Its financial situation has been dire. The stock price has collapsed, and the company is in the midst of a restructuring and the sale of some of its operations. It is a far cry from when GE was considered the best-run American company under CEO Jack Welch. Its falloff was the largest among the 100 brands measured.

The Interbrand survey has been criticized because of its methodology, which is complex and not entirely transparent. However, its list is a good annual marker of how brands owned by huge companies have done from year to year. Apple, which has been at the top of the list for much of the history of the ranking, continues to be remarkably successful because of its iPhone sales and a new services business that serves tens of millions of its customers.

Incidentally, some brands are in such trouble that they may soon disappear completely.