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    Kantar: Apple on track to hit $1T brand valuation while Amazon falls

    • Apple reclaimed its spot as the world’s most valuable brand in Kantar’s annual BrandZ rankings, unseating Amazon, which has held the position for the past several years. The iPhone maker is on pace to become the first $1 trillion brand tracked by the agency with a current valuation of $947.1 billion. 
    • Amazon dropped to third place with a valuation of $705.6 billion, while Google increased its brand value 79% to clinch second place with a $819.6 billion valuation. The Alphabet-owned company was among 37 firms to improve their ranking this year.
    • Consumer technology and luxury companies grew the fastest among categories at 46% and 45%, respectively. Kantar in a statement emphasized that brand affinity has “never been more important” as inflation poses steep challenges to marketers and consumers. 

    Apple, frequently near the front of the pack in Kantar’s BrandZ rankings, is back on top thanks to diversification in hardware, software and services. The iPhone maker retains a leading position in the smartphone space but has also grown its cultural cache through bets like its streaming service Apple TV+, which this week secured the rights to stream Major League Soccer in a 10-year pact. 

    Fostering healthy consumer affinity could be important for Apple if and when it tries to establish a more substantial advertising business. Rumblings that the company could launch a search engine have piqued industry interest and would change the game as other major digital ad platforms, like Facebook, grapple with headwinds stemming from privacy changes implemented by Apple.  

    The BrandZ list is often littered with tech firms — Microsoft, Facebook, Tencent and Alibaba also landed in the top 10 for 2022 — but the latest rankings speak to how trends within the category are shifting. Amazon, which clinched the No. 1 spot for the past several years, saw its status fall, speaking to how core business areas are encountering troubles. While the firm has made progress in building an advertising empire, its e-commerce sales have had a hard comedown from an earlier pandemic frenzy, when many people were forced to do their shopping online. 

    Though some of the online retail explosion has tapered off for Amazon, Kantar said a wider acceleration in e-commerce adoption has helped retailers develop strong bonds with consumers. Louis Vuitton this year became the first luxury marketer to enter the top 10 with a $124.3 billion valuation, in part thanks to strong performance in China. 

    The combined value of the top 100 brands assessed by BrandZ jumped 23% over the past year to hit a $8.7 trillion total. Kantar suggested that investing in brand strength could be more crucial as the global economy continues to prove volatile.

    Strong brand affinity underpins a customer’s willingness to pay and has never been more important for organisations looking to offset spiking inflation,” said Martin Guerrieria, head of Kantar BrandZ, in a press statement. “This year’s results show us the value of continued investment in brand and marketing capabilities, as a means of maximising business returns, irrespective of market conditions.”

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