The brand was also the fastest-growing performer in the BrandZ Retail Top 20, up +41% ($40.1bn), year-on-year, thanks to its continuing innovation. Amazon has made online shopping faster and more convenient via initiatives such as Amazon Prime Pantry and Amazon Prime Now. It also built its reputation for rethinking all forms of retail with concepts for check-out free stores where payment is via an app.
Innovations such as Amazon Echo and Alexa combined with moves to develop the benefits of subscribing to Prime have also reinforced the power of its technology ecosystem, strengthening loyalty and customer satisfaction.
The opportunities presented by bricks and mortar has also been seized by Alibaba, China’s e-commerce leader, which retained its no.2 spot in the BrandZ Top 20 retail brands with a brand value of $59.1bn. The company entered a partnership with Bailian Group, which operates almost 5,000 stores in China. The move also expands the group’s ecosystem, enabling Alibaba to link its online e-commerce platforms, Tmall and Taobao, and its Alipay payment function, with Bailian.
Alibaba is also building a global footprint and is now a leading automotive seller in Russia, according to Kantar Retail, and is investigating the establishment of a logistics centre in Bulgaria, and a distribution centre in Croatia.
China’s expertise in e-commerce is also reflected by the presence of JD.com, in the retail Top 10 for the first time, with a brand value $10.7bn, up +3%. JD.com has established a partnership with Walmart, giving it additional scale.
The success of the e-commerce giants helped retail become the fastest-growing sector in this year’s BrandZ ranking, up +14% from 2016. It’s a long-term trend with the brand value of e-commerce players collectively rising by more than +380% in the last 12-years, while traditional retailers have lost -23% of their value overall.
As the largest and definitive brand-building platform in the world, BrandZ reflects the brands that are integrated into today’s consumer lifestyles. It is the only brand valuation study to combine interviews with over three million consumers globally with analysis of the financial and business performance of each company (using data from Bloomberg and Kantar Worldpanel).
Rivals in the Retail Top 20 brands are intensifying their digital efforts. Home improvement specialist Home Depot (the no.3 brand, up +11% at $40.3bn) invested in digital, leveraging the size and product range of its warehouse stores to offer customers a variety of ways to buy, including click and collect.
Walmart (the no.4 brand, growing +2% to $27.9bn) acquired several niche e-commerce apparel retailers, as well as Jet.com, an e-commerce player with a track record of encouraging consumers to spend more online through low pricing and letting them know when they can save money on certain purchases. As well as extending Walmart’s online business, the moves broadened its customer base with shoppers that are younger and more urban than its traditional consumer.
The rise of e-commerce has challenged traditional retail brands to deliver new forms of consumer convenience. Target (no.14 at $8.7bn) has implemented a store remodelling programming designed to offer shoppers routes round its stores based on the purpose of their trip. Many grocery sector players have also adapted their customer focus; Carrefour (no.17 at $6.8bn) has deployed a range of smaller convenience stores to complement its hypermarkets.
David Roth, CEO EMEA and Asia, The Store WPP, said, ““The pace of retail was always fast and furious but in the 12 years since the BrandZ rankings began the rules of the game have radically changed. Walmart has been overtaken as the world’s most valuable retail brand by Amazon and two Chinese e-commerce brands are in the Top 10. E-commerce has radically reshaped the retail and brand landscape and these changes are set to accelerate. Retail brands that don’t deliver seamless, unique customer centric experience online and offline will continue to suffer. The future of retail is not what it used to be.”
The BrandZ Top 20 Most Valuable Retail Brands 2017
|Rank 2017||Brand||Brand value 2017 ($M)||Brand value change||Rank 2016||Rank in global Top 100|
|3||The Home Depot||40,327||11%||3||24|