Apple has ended Google's four-year reign as the world's most valuable brand, leaping to pole position with a staggering 84 percent increase in dollar value over the past year, according to a new report.
The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2011 study found Apple to be worth US$153.3 billion, an 859 percent increase in value since 2006. Conducted by Millward Brown Optimor, the study derives a company's value by analyzing its financial data as well as consumer measures of brand equity.
In the report, the WPP-owned research firm said technology and telecom companies dominated the ranking, with brands in this sector making up one-third of the top 100.
Google, at No. 2, saw its value decline by 2 percent to US$111.5 billion while third-placed IBM was valued at US$100.9 billion--a 17 percent increase over 2010. Fifth-placed Microsoft improved its value by 2 percent to register US$78.2 million.
At US$19.1 billion, Facebook also made its debut in this year's top 100 brands, scoring the highest increase in brand value at 246 percent.
Fast food, luxury and technology companies topped brand value appreciation with fast food brands leading the growth at 22 percent, followed by luxury brands with 19 percent. Technology brands saw an 18 percent jump in brand value. The oil and gas sector, on the other hand, recorded the slowest growth rate at only 1 percent.
Online retail giant, Amazon, kept rival Walmart at bay to become the top retail brand with a 37 percent increase in brand value at US$37.6 billion, the report added. McDonald's, the only non-tech brand in the top 5 at No. 4, was valued at US$81 million--an increase of 23 percent in brand value.
David Roth, CEO of WPP's retail practice in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and Asia, said in a media statement that "the importance of brand for global business success is becoming increasingly significant."
"In the last year, the global economy shifted from recovery to real growth, the combined value of all brands in the Top 100 ranking has risen by 64 percent since 2006 and is now worth US$2.4 trillion," he added.
Rise of emerging market brands
The study also found that the purchasing power of consumers from BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) countries is increasing as brands from these emerging markets increasingly populate the global ranking.
Nineteen out of the 100 companies studied are from BRIC markets, compared to just two in 2006 and 13 in 2010, said Millward Brown.
The research firm also noted that while many BRIC brands have local support, many companies such as China's Baidu have ambitions to penetrate overseas markets. Baidu, China's largest search engine and No. 29 in Millward Brown's ranking, has a brand value of US$22.5 billion and is now listed on the NASDAQ index.
Consumers in these countries however, still prefer Western brands, according to the report. Louis Vuitton, for example, profited from the new energy and confidence in the BRICs region--it enjoyed a 23 percent growth in brand value to US$24.3 billion, moving up three spots from 2010 to No. 26 in the latest ranking.