> 2021 brand value: $35.6 billion
> 2020-2021 brand value change: +8.9% (+$2.9 billion)
> Sector: Tobacco
> Country: United States
Marlboro is the best known brand of major tobacco company Philip Morris International. PMI touts Marlboro as “the world’s best-selling international cigarette,” available in more than 180 markets.
In spite of the declining smoking rates in most countries in recent decades, Marlboro’s brand value has continued to increase in recent years — up 8.9% from 2020 to 2021 and 134.5% from 2012 to 2021, both among the largest percentage increases among major brands during those times.
34. Mitsubishi Group
> 2021 brand value: $36.3 billion
> 2020-2021 brand value change: -3.6% (-$1.4 billion)
> Sector: Auto
> Country: Japan
Like many other auto brands, the brand value of Japanese car manufacturer Mitsubishi dipped from 2020 to 2021 after demand for vehicles declined. The brand’s value declined to $36.3 billion in 2021 from $37.7 billion in 2020.
Brand Finance’s Brand Strength Index evaluates three areas of the business — investment in the future, equity, based on perceptions gleaned from market research, and financial performance — and assigns grades accordingly with AAA+ being the top grade. Mitsubishi scored an AA-, the lowest of any brand on this list.
33. Saudi Aramco
> 2021 brand value: $37.5 billion
> 2020-2021 brand value change: -19.9% (-$9.3 billion)
> Sector: Oil & gas
> Country: Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s partially state-owned oil and gas company Saudi Aramco is the only Middle Eastern company to rank among the world’s most valuable brands. In 2019, Saudi Aramco had one of the world’s largest IPOs, when the company sold shares amounting to 1.5%, or $26 billion, of the company’s value.
Like other major energy providers, Saudi Aramco’s brand experienced a sharp decline in value from 2020 to 2021. The company’s brand value dipped by $9.3 billion, or nearly one-fifth of its total value. Just before COVID-19 shut down much of the world economy, Russia and Saudi Arabia engaged in a price war by dramatically increasing their oil output, driving prices sharply down.
32. China Mobile
> 2021 brand value: $37.6 billion
> 2020-2021 brand value change: -23.4% (-$11.5 billion)
> Sector: Telecoms
> Country: China
China Mobile is a state-run telecom with more than 900 million customers. It is the nation’s most valuable telecom brand, worth an estimated $37.6 billion.
China Mobile’s brand value took a significant hit from 2020 to 2021, losing nearly a quarter of its worth — a larger share than any other brand on this list. It was one of more than 30 businesses that were affected by a November 2020 executive order from then-President Donald Trump barring Americans from owning companies with ties to China’s army. China Mobile was subsequently delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.
> 2021 brand value: $38.4 billion
> 2020-2021 brand value change: -6.3% (-$2.6 billion)
> Sector: Restaurants
> Country: United States
Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks is the world’s most valuable restaurant brand, worth $38.4 billion. Starbucks is far and away the leader in the U.S. marketplace for coffee and snacks, controlling a 36.7% market share, according to an analysis of the business from Harvard University. Its next closest competitor, Dunkin’ Brands, has a market share of less than 25%. There are over 32,000 Starbucks locations across the world in 83 different markets.
Starbucks, like many other brands on this list, faced significant challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. Many American workers stayed home instead of going into the office and skipped their daily Starbucks order. In June 2020, Starbucks announced it would be closing hundreds of stores.