Apparel topped the ninth annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands report by Millward Brown Optimor, as the fastest growing category accounting for 29 percent of overall brand value growth in 2014.
The report found that in total, 2014’s 100 Most Valuable Global Brands added $310 billion to reach $2.9 trillion in brand value, a 12 percent increase from the previous year. Ten of the 14 categories saw double-digit growth, and only 18 brands lost value, confirming that brands across the economy are beyond recovery and have moved into a growth period, the report noted.
Technology brands dominated the top 10. Google ranked first, followed by Apple and IBM. Amazon claimed the tenth overall spot on the list, but ranked as the number one retail brand, indicating consumers are drawn toward retailers who can provide a seamless approach to shopping.
Consumers sought value investing in apparel brands that offered styles with durability and function, the report noted. Mid-priced brands informed by high-end fashion advanced, however, price-savvy, post-recession consumers continued to wait for items to go on sale. As a result, the study found that merchants offered discounts earlier in the season, adjusting prices rationally to encourage purchasing while protecting their margins.
Additionally, consumers were drawn to brands they trusted. “The death of more than 1,100 workers in the collapse of the Rana Plaza apparel factory in Bangladesh underscored the challenge for brands attempting to meet a competitive price point while at the same time manage supply chains responsibility. For some brands, like Patagonia, social responsibility is at the core of their appeal. All brands felt pressured, however, to meet growing consumer concern and interest in product provenance,” according to the report.
The study also found increased consumer interest in luxury clothing, leather goods and accessories brands. The luxury category–led by Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Gucci–saw a 16 percent increase in brand value, revealing consumers are more comfortable with big ticket purchases.
Driven in part by newly wealthy young people in fast growing markets, today’s luxury consumer possesses different tastes and an interest in niche brands, the report suggested. High-end brands that offered products with fewer logos and more “discrete, subtle and less accessible luxury” captured consumers attention.