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Amazon is the Most Loved Brand of 2018, Survey Finds

So far the holiday shopping season has brought a chorus of calls for consumers to cancel their subscriptions to Amazon’s $119-per-year Prime subscription amid increased scrutiny of the Seattle e-commerce leader’s practices. However, that doesn’t seem to have had much effect on how the population at large feels about the Jeff Bezos-helmed company and the fast and free shipping it affords.

Morning Consult undertook survey interviews of 1.5 million people, inquiring about 2,000 brands to determine which companies “dominated American culture and commerce in 2018,” and for the second year running, Amazon emerged as the favorite.

The e-tailer earned the highest net favorability score along with the distinction of the most-loved brand, according to the Morning Consult report, and tied with Google (60 percent) for the employer most people admire. This despite a string of negative headlines this year for both companies, with Amazon dinged for low wages, warehouse conditions and the anticlimactic debacle that was the hunt for HQ2—though the company might have garnered some plaudits for announcing a $15 minimum wage.

Meanwhile, Google slogged through a sexual harassment crisis that saw 20,000 workers worldwide walk out on the job to protest how the Bay Area tech firm mishandled misconduct accusations. Note that people with a four-year degree had even more favorable opinions of the two tech titans, with 65 percent admiring Amazon and 64 percent favoring Google.

Despite everyone loving Amazon, Walmart emerged as the company most people wanted to give their money to, with 69 percent indicating a desire to shop at the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer that has a store within 10 miles of 90 percent of Americans, according to some statistics. However, the more money consumers earned, the less likely they were to want to shop at the merchant that’s been trying to reinvent itself as a destination for the more affluent. For example, 71 percent of people earning $50,000 or less were either “very likely or absolutely certain” they’d consider shopping with Walmart, while just 62 percent of those pulling down $100,000 or more said the same.

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Morning Consult identified political and social issues that can land brands in hot water—or earn them accolades, depending on which side of the fences its customers fall. It found that supporting a protester’s right to take a knee during the national anthem is a political hot potato that can tank brand perception, though Nike managed to turn highly public support of leading kneeler Colin Kaepernick—who’s the face of the brand’s Just Do It 30th year anniversary campaign—into a $6 billion boost in market value, not to mention “record engagement,” CEO Mark Parker said in September.