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New Brand Finance Report Sees Apple Reclaim Position as World's Most Valuable Brand while US Airlines lose US$12 bn in Brand Value


DALLAS, Jan. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ —

  • Five years since it last held top spot, Apple is named world's most valuable brand in Brand Finance US 500 2021 ranking and Brand Finance Global 500 2021 ranking, brand value US$263.4 billion
  • As new technologies drive brand value across industries, Tesla leaves traditional automakers behind with fastest brand value growth in ranking, up 158%
  • AMD is fastest growing tech brand, 89% value growth fuels meteoric ranking rise of 186 spots to 287th
  • Nvidia reaps rewards from Arm acquisition as 73% brand value growth recorded
  • COVID cripples air and sea travel, all brands lose value
  • Coca-Cola is strongest brand in US with Brand Strength Index (BSI) score 91.7 out of 100 and AAA+ brand strength rating
  • Mastercard's Ajay Banga best among top 100 CEOs in Brand Finance Brand Guardianship Index 2021, as commitment to technological innovation pays off

View the full Brand Finance US 500 2021 report here

View the full Brand Finance Global 500 2021 report here

Apple has overtaken Amazon and Google to reclaim the title of the world's most valuable brand for the first time since 2016, according to the latest report by Brand Finance – the world's leading brand valuation consultancy. Apple has the success of its diversification strategy to thank for an impressive 87% brand value increase to US$263.4 billion and its position at the top of the Brand Finance US 500 2021 ranking and Brand Finance Global 500 2021 ranking.

Laurence Newell, Managing Director, Brand Finance Americas, commented:

Steve Jobs' legacy continues to flow through Apple, with innovation built into the brand's DNA. As Apple reclaims the title of the world's most valuable brand from Amazon five years since it last held the top spot, we are witnessing it Think Different once again. From Mac to iPod, to iPhone, to iPad, to Apple Watch, to subscription services, to infinity and beyond.”  

Tesla races up ranking

The importance of technological innovation as a driving force behind brand value is best exemplified by Tesla (up 158% to US$32 billion), the fastest-growing brand in the Brand Finance US 500 2021 and Brand Finance Global 500 2021 ranking. Emerging unscathed from the various controversies surrounding CEO, Elon Musk, Tesla's market capitalization has grown by an eyewatering US$500 billion over the last year, making it worth as much as the next nine largest automobile manufacturers in the world combined.

AMD leapfrogs ahead

AMD (up 89% to US$2.7 billion) is the fastest growing tech brand, the second-fastest growing brand in the US overall and the biggest mover in the ranking this year, jumping up 186 spots from 473rd to 287th.

Laurence Newell, Managing Director, Brand Finance Americas, commented:

“As artificial intelligence, data centers, 5G technology, IoT, and autonomous vehicles are rapidly growing, semiconductor brands are perfectly positioned to match this growth as demand requires a new era of sensors, memory and chips.”

The impressive growth of the AMD brand can be attributed to the highly anticipated upcoming launch of its Ryzen 5000 Mobile series and many other impressive innovations.

Nvidia (up 73% to US$8.1 billion) is the fifth-fastest growing brand in the Brand Finance US 500 2021 ranking, an upward trajectory it plans on continuing through its US$40 billion deal to acquire British chip designer Arm.

From product setbacks and sales delays, to COVID-19 and Apple making its own computer chips, Intel has negotiated a turbulent year. Despite this, the California-based tech multinational has managed to increase its brand value by 16% to US$31.8 billion, placing 19th overall in the US. In a move to remain relevant in an increasingly competitive market, Intel has also undergone a rebranding to better reflect its future goals.

COVID docks cruises

The ongoing global pandemic has strongly impacted the travel and tourism industries, with cruises being at the helm. Cruises disappear from the Brand Finance US 500 2021 ranking for the first time ever, with Royal Caribbean International (down 90% to US$494 million) dropping 631 spots from 169th to 800th, and Norwegian Cruise Line (down 98% to US$49 million) dropping 1,159 spots to 1,439th overall.

Long haul problems for aviation

A clear impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, US-based airlines have decreased in brand value across the board, with Boeing (down 40% to US$13.6 billion) among the top ten fastest falling brands for 2021. Following suit, American Airlines (down 40% to US$5.3 billion), United Airlines (down 39% to US$5 billion) and Delta (down 38% to US$5.8 billion) each experienced significant losses in brand value.

Boeing's woes continue after hitting headlines at the beginning of this year when its 737-500 passenger plane crashed in Indonesia, its reputation taking yet another battering.

Coca-Cola claims podium spot

In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, customer familiarity, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. According to these criteria, Coca-Cola (down 13% to US$33.2 billion) has overtaken Disney (down 9% to US$51.2 billion) as the US' strongest brand, and 4th globally, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 91.7 out of 100. The soft drinks giant was not immune from the impact of COVID-19, however, with the multinational forced to restructure, which has seen over 2000 jobs cut and the brand lose over a tenth of its value this year.

Coca-Cola's biggest soft-drink rival, Pepsi (down 3% to 18.4 billion), is also one of this year's strongest performing brands, ranking ninth overall in the US with a BSI score of 88.4 out of 100 and a AAA rating.

Meet the world's top Brand Guardians

This year's top CEO in the Brand Finance Brand Guardianship Index is Mastercard's Ajay Banga. Mr Banga announced his transition from CEO to executive chairman in 2020, rounding off a successful and decorated 10 years as CEO. Since taking the helm of Mastercard, Mr Banga has embraced technological innovation, ensuring the brand remained relevant despite a period of rapid change in financial services. Mr Banga also champions the idea of financial inclusion, and has leveraged his influence to build strategic partnerships with financial institutions worldwide to help fight poverty.

View the full Brand Finance US 500 2021 report here

View the full Brand Finance Global 500 2021 report here

Note to Editors

Brand Finance is the world's leading brand valuation consultancy with its US base in Dallas, Texas. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organizations of all kinds make strategic decisions.

Every year, Brand Finance puts 5,000 of the biggest brands to the test, evaluating their strength and quantifying their value, and publishes nearly 100 reports, ranking brands across all sectors and countries. The world's 500 most valuable US brands are included in the Brand Finance US 500 2021 report, while the world's 500 most valuable brands are included in the Brand Finance Global 500 2021 report.

Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that the owner of the brand would if it licensed the brand in to the business that operates it. Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand's performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors.

Media Contacts

Laurence Newell
Managing Director Brand Finance US
T: +1 (214) 722-6971
M: +1 (214) 803-3424
[email protected]

Florina Cormack-Loyd
Senior Communications Manager
T: +44 (0)207 389 9444
M: +44 (0)7939 118 932
[email protected]

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Brand Finance has produced this study with an independent and unbiased analysis. The values derived and opinions presented in this study are based on publicly available information and certain assumptions that Brand Finance used where such data was deficient or unclear. Brand Finance accepts no responsibility and will not be liable in the event that the publicly available information relied upon is subsequently found to be inaccurate. The opinions and financial analysis expressed in the study are not to be construed as providing investment or business advice. Brand Finance does not intend the study to be relied upon for any reason and excludes all liability to any body, government, or organization.

The data presented in this study form part of Brand Finance's proprietary database, are provided for the benefit of the media, and are not to be used in part or in full for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

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