Who Have Been The Most Valuable Tech Brands Through Lockdown?

Tech brands worth $1.8 trillion, up 10% and second to retail in category performance. Innovation through services drives growth, but privacy and trust needs to be rebuilt. Microsoft topples Google to become third most valuable brand in Top 100. The global pandemic has been a pivotal moment for technology brands, helping to boost their brand value, according to the 2020 BrandZTM Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking released today by WPP and Kantar.

Of the 14 categories ranked, technology was second only to retail in brand value growth, increasing 10% to US$1.8 trillion. When their brand value is combined, consumer and business technology brands account for over a third (37%) of total brand value this year.

The leading brands in the Top 20 Most Valuable Technology Brands 2020:

  1. Apple (+14%, $352.2bn)
  2. Microsoft (+30%, $326.5bn)
  3. Google (+5%, $323.6bn)
  4. Chinese internet services giant Tencent (+15%, $151bn)
  5. Facebook (-7%, $147.2bn)

…completed the top five most valuable technology brands and also came in at no.7 and no.8 in the Top 100. The total brand value of the BrandZ Top 100 global brands reached US$5 trillion, an increase of 5.9%, despite the economic, social and personal impacts of COVID-19. Prior to the global pandemic, total brand value of the Top 100 brands was set to increase by 9%.

Martin Guerrieria, Global Head of Research for BrandZ at Kantar, comments: “Technology brands have proved extremely resilient, especially relative to brands in most other categories, with revenue and profit generally improving, although at a slower pace. The recent crisis has helped reignite the ‘romance’ between consumers and technology brands, which had been cooling off due largely to trust issues around privacy and the protection of personal data. Lockdown has been a stark reminder that technology is indispensable to our lives, and that we are dependent on digital connections and devices to buy food and other essentials, conduct meetings and communicate with family and friends.”

Innovation Through Services Drives Growth

This year’s BrandZ ranking showed that innovation and creativity are key drivers of growth across all categories. Tech brands have adopted a strategy that has seen them expand from devices into services pursuing both business-to-business (B2B) and consumer opportunities.

Apple’s wearables and services drove revenue gains, while its subscription streaming service, Apple TV+, has taken it into new territory competing with established names Netflix and Amazon Prime, and new players like Disney+. Facebook anticipated that COVID-19 signalled a ‘new normal’ and introduced Messenger Rooms, a chat feature that can accommodate 50 people. Microsoft overtook Google due to a strategic shift to subscription-based services and growth in its workplace ecosystem that incorporates Office365 and Microsoft Teams, allowing people to maintain ‘business as usual’ during lockdown.

B2B technology brands IBM (-3%, $83.7bn), Oracle (+2%, $26.9bn), SAP (0%, $57.6bn) and Cisco (-9%, $26.3bn) continued to develop their services as cloud computing continues to evolve to value-added analytics and cloud-based artificial intelligence. Cloud specialists, including Adobe (29%, $35.9bn) and Salesforce (13%, $30.5bn), reinforced their creative and CRM credentials as part of a multi-cloud, multi-vendor approach.

Top 20 Most Valuable Technology Brands 2020

Rank 2020 Brand Brand value 2020 ($MN) Brand value change Rank 2019
1 Apple 352,206 14% 1
2 Microsoft 326,544 30% 3
3 Google 323,601 5% 2
4 Tencent 150,978 15% 5
5 Facebook 147,190 -7% 4
6 IBM 83,667 -3% 6
7 SAP 57,578 0% 7
8 Instagram 41,501 47% 12
9 Accenture 41,437 6% 8
10 Intel 37,257 17% 9
11 Adobe 35,904 29% 13
12 Samsung 32,580 7% 10
13 Salesforce 30,489 13% 14
14 LinkedIn 29,936 31% 17
15 Huawei 29,412 9% 15
16 Oracle 26,925 2% 16
17 Cisco 26,254 -9% 11
18 Dell Technologies 18,194 -2% 20
19 Xiaomi 16,644 -16% 19
20 Baidu 14,840 -29% 18

Privacy and Trust

As technology devices and services have become more integral to our lives, this has led to a more intimate relationship between user and brand and trust is fundamental to this. Privacy issues over recent years relating to the protection and use of personal data, such as the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica example, has led to a breakdown of this trust. Technology brands have had to begin the process of rebuilding this.

Facebook began the process of integrating its WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger functions to assert more centralised control over reliability and privacy protection. Apple addressed privacy directly in a Super Bowl ad promoting respect for privacy as an important attribute of the Apple brand, while Google took a different approach in its Super Bowl ad, with an emotional display of how personal data, transformed by AI, can enrich life.

Key trends highlighted in this year’s BrandZ Global Top 100 study include:

  • Amazon maintained its position as the world’s most valuable brand, growing 32% to US$415.9bn. Value grew by $100bn representing a third of the Top 100’s total growth
  • MasterCard entered the Top 10 for the first time this year, due to strong financial performance, supported by growing brand equity especially in engaging consumers: successfully fitting into the ‘ecosystem’ of their everyday lives and gaining a close emotional connection through its purposeful positioning
  • Five new entrants appear in the Top 100, led by Chinese entertainment brand TikTok, followed by UnitedHealthcare (no. 86, $15.8bn), Bank of China (no. 97, $13.7bn), Lancôme (no. 98, $13.6bn) and Pepsi (no. 99, $13.3bn)
  • Building ecology has become a trend in the global business community. Haier (no. 68, $18.7bn) is the leading IoT ecosystem brand for the second year running
  • US brands represented more than half of the Top 100 brands. Asian brands represented a quarter of the Top 100 brands, with 17 from China (including Alibaba and Tencent in the Top 10) and two from Japan (Toyota and NTT)
  • Sustainability is the new luxury: younger consumers expect the qualities associated with luxury, but with sustainable materials and less packaging. Four luxury brands made the Top 100 this year, led by Louis Vuitton (+10%, no. 19, $51.8bn)