NEW YORK: Apple, Google and IBM head the list of the 100 most valuable global brands in 2013, which together have a combined brand value of $2.6tr, according to a new report.

The annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study, commissioned by WPP and conducted by Millward Brown Optimor, used the views of potential and current buyers of a brand, alongside financial data, to calculate its value.

Brands in the technology category took the top three places, with Apple remaining in the number one spot with a valuation of $185bn.

Its growth in the past year, however, slowed to only 1%, a performance that contrasted with the 51% increase in value of Samsung, its main competitor in the smartphone market. Even with this extraordinary rise, Samsung's valuation of $21bn put it at number 30 in the rankings.

Nick Cooper, Managing Director of Millward Brown Optimor, noted that Samsung had spent $1.6bn more on advertising in the last year, but observed that "Apple's ability to maintain its number one position demonstrates the value that having a strong brand brings to business".

Google overtook IBM to reach the number two spot, growing 5% to a value of $114bn. Close behind, in third place, was IBM with a brand value of $112bn, although this had slipped back 3% on 2012.

The only other technology brand in the top ten was Microsoft, which dropped from fifth to seventh, as its value of $70bn was 9% less than the year before.

Food and drink brands also featured in the top five. McDonald's value slipped 5% to $90bn but it retained its fourth position, while Coca-Cola crept up from sixth to fifth as its value rose 6% to $78bn.

Telecoms brands took the sixth and tenth spots. AT&T eased upwards from eighth to sixth with a value that had increased 10% to $75bn, while China Mobile remained in tenth with an 18% rise in value to $55bn.

Marlboro, the tobacco brand, slid from seventh to eighth, as a 6% drop in value made it worth $69bn.

The final brand in the top ten was Visa, the credit card, which recorded a substantial 46% rise in value as it jumped from 15th to ninth pace.

David Roth, chief executive of The Store at WPP, said the rankings highlighted the return on investment that brands gave businesses.

"It shows that strong brands bring market share growth, increased profits from being able to command a price premium and greater shareholder returns," he stated.

Data sourced from additional content by Warc staff