Amazon overtakes Wal-Mart to become world’s most valuable brand, study finds


Amazon has overtaken Wal-Mart to become the world’s most valuable retail brand in the eighth annual Millward Brown Optimor BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study.

The e-tailer grew its brand value by +34% to reach $45.7bn, and has risen four places to no.14 in the overall Top 100 ranking. Wal-Mart grew by 5%, and is now worth $36.2bn – it sits at no.18 in the Top 100, down one position.

The retail category as a whole grew in value by 17% over the last year to reach $242bn; last year it declined 5%. Drivers included the recovery of the US economy, the growing importance of brand as a tool for differentiating retailers, and the need to attract consumers who shop anytime, anywhere, often on the move. The study was expanded this year to include pharmacies and department stores for the first time.

The Home Depot is ninth in the BrandZ ranking’s Top Risers list, with a value growth of 43% over the previous year and a rise of 21 positions in the Top 100 to reach no.41. Now no.3 in the retail category, it positioned itself well to ‘ride the wave’ as confidence returned in the US. Ebay is another top riser, with 40% value growth to $17.7billion – it is 47th in the Top 100, up 17 places.

Woolworths is a newcomer to Top 100 at no.80, and is eighth in the retail category with a brand value of $11bn. Newcomers to the category ranking include Whole Foods Market (13), Walgreens (14), CVS (15) and Coles (20), partly due to a redefined category to include pharmacies. The only retailer to drop out of the Top 100 was Carrefour (98 last year). Aldi has dropped 12 positions at no.99, with a 5% decrease in value to $8.9 billion.

Robin Headlee, vice president of Millward Brown Optimor, said: “Amazon has retaken the top spot by putting the customer first. This year’s ranking shows that consumers are recognising the efficiency and good value they get from large retailers, but our analysis reveals that brands’ desire, trust and user recommendation ratings have declined slightly in the retail category. To get to and stay at the top a retailer also needs a strong, consistently executed promise, and they must be innovative and responsive in creating ‘meaningful difference’ that makes them personally relevant to consumers.”

Other key highlights from the retail ranking include:

  • A powerful presence: the most valuable retail brands make themselves available wherever customers are – even Amazon has established a bricks and mortar presence to offer a new brand experience. They are developing ecosystems that reach and connect with consumers in a unified way, with a consistent experience, across multiple channels. To draw traffic and build loyalty, retailers worked hard to improve their in-store brand experience
  • ‘Strategic savers’ are becoming ‘ethical emphasisers’ and ‘conscious connoisseurs’: the success of healthy and organic product brand Whole Foods Market – which is worth $6.7bn, and achieved one of the highest brand contribution scores in its category, the portion of value based on the strength of the brand alone – reflects cross-category consumers trends of concern with personal health, interest in niche offerings, and environmental awareness. It commands a price premium with a unique position and well-executed experience
  • Struggling economies still impact the category: brands with a major presence in Europe, especially hypermarkets and food retailers, felt the impact of its financial troubles. Tesco and Carrefour declined in brand value, in part because of weakness in overstored European markets. Aldi and Lidl declined in brand value, too, suggesting that the economy hurt even the usually more resilient food hard discounters.
  • Blowing their own trumpets: retailers starting to act like media owners, organising vast customer data, creating relevant content, and generating additional revenue from suppliers eager to target key audiences.
  • The new convenience: retailers have been simplifying the in-store shopping experience with clearer navigation and faster checkout, and making the most of technology for instance self-checkout using their smart phones, click and collect.

The BrandZ Top 10 Most Valuable Retail Brands 2013

Category rank  Top 100 rank Brand Value in $ million Brand value change from   2012
1 14 Amazon 45,727 +34%
2 18 Walmart 36,220 +5%
3 41 The Home Depot 18,488 +43%
4 47 Ebay 17,749 +40%
5 55 Tesco 16,303 -9%
6 74 IKEA 12,040 +31%
7 76 Target 11,879 +13%
8 80 Woolworths 11,039 n/a
9 99 ALDI 8,885 -5%
10 n/a Lowe’s 7,559 +26%

The full retail ranking is available from