Most Valuable Apparel Brand? Nike Just Does It Again


·         Nike remains the world’s most valuable apparel brand, valued at US$32 billion

·         H&M expands its e-commerce footprint and enjoys a 24% boost in value

·         Zara’s flexible business model provides competitive advantage, bolstering value

·         Anta grows 67%, increasing its international presence through player deals

Every year, leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values the brands of thousands of the world’s biggest companies. Brands are first evaluated to determine their power / strength (based on factors such as marketing investment, familiarity, loyalty, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation) and given a corresponding letter grade up to AAA+. Brand strength is used to determine what proportion of a business’s revenue is contributed by the brand, which is projected into perpetuity to determine the brand’s value. The world’s most valuable apparel brands are ranked and included in the Brand Finance Apparel 50 2017.

Nike has retained its position as the world’s most valuable apparel brand after a 13% rise in brand value to US$32 billion. Its brand strength score of 92 and AAA+ rating renders Nike the most powerful brand in the sector and third most powerful across all sectors. The brand’s strength is partially attributable to the apparel giant’s ability to continuously innovate and deliver state-of-the-art products to a range of consumer demographics. Last year, the brand released the anticipated self-lacing HyperAdapt sneakers popularised by the sci-fi movie, “Back to the Future”, as well as becoming the first major commercial athletic apparel brand to announce a plus-size workout and clothing line.

Alongside its tangible products, Nike’s delivery of powerful messages through its marketing campaigns undoubtedly bolsters its brand value and strength. Its “Equality” campaign encourages people to take their attitude on the court or field off-court, demonstrating the same fairness and respect in their everyday interactions. Nike has also recently introduced the high-performance hijab for Muslim athletes. The new product seeks to normalise the fact that women – religious or otherwise, are equal to men in the sporting world. Nike’s constant involvement in promoting an active, positive lifestyle both inside and outside the scope of sport will continue to positively impact its brand value and strength.

H&M is the second most valuable apparel brand with a brand value of US$19 billion after 24% growth. Whilst the Swedish company continues to expand its network of physical stores, opening 442 in 2016 alone, it is redirecting some of its efforts towards expanding its e-commerce operations to cater to the rising popularity of online shopping. The competitive business model and its investments in IT will aid it in generating future returns as it develops in emerging markets.

Spanish giant Zara is the third most valuable brand, valued at US$14.4 billion after an impressive 43% growth. The brand has seen total sales rise 14.5% and net profits were up 9% last year. Unlike the more rigid business models of other apparel brands, the flexibility that comes with Zara’s fast fashion model allows it to adapt its clothing to unpredictable circumstances such as unusual changes in weather and the brand’s value flourishes as a result of this competitive advantage. 

Marc Jacobs is the fastest growing brand in the table, its brand value growing 84%. This is attributed in part to its recent restructure which involved folding its widely distributed “diffusion” collection Marc x Marc Jacobs into its main line to offer a wide range of products under a single unified brand in an attempt to move upmarket and fortify the brand name of each collection. If the restructure proves successful, the luxury apparel’s brand value will continue to rise.

Chinese sports and footwear brand, Anta, is the second fastest growing brand in the table, its value up 67% to US$2 billion. While the brand is still relatively unfamiliar to those outside of China as the home market has always been a priority, Anta is increasingly shifting its focus overseas. Having secured a deal with NBA player Klay Thompson, Anta has successfully established a direct-to-consumer e-commerce relationship in the US. If Anta continues to effectively penetrate international markets, the increased recognition of its brand will drive its brand value up further.

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