NEW YORK: In an increasingly complex world, consumers value simplicity, with 63% more likely to recommend a brand for that reason while 69% are prepared to pay more to get a simpler experience.

And, according to brand strategy and design firm Siegel+Gale, an index composed of publicly quoted brands featuring at the top of its annual Global Brand Simplicity Index would have outperformed the major stock indexes by 214%.

The latest Simplicity Index, based on an online survey of more than 12,000 respondents across eight countries, ranked 585 brands according to their perceived simplicity – defined as ease of understanding, transparency, caring, innovation and usefulness of communications as well as how complex and complicated typical interactions are in relation to industry peers.

This assessment placed German discount supermarket Aldi top for the third year in a row, with its rival Lidl in third place; sandwiched between them in second place was internet giant Google.

UK consumers have embraced the simple retailing approach of the two discounters whose combined market share has doubled in just three years to almost 10%.

Netflix (4th), YouTube (8th) and eBay (9th) were the other new media brands represented in the top ten, which also featured three QSR brands in McDonald's (5th), Burger King (6th) and KFC (10th) with Swedish furniture retailer Ikea completing the line up in seventh.

At the other end of the scale, the Index noted the difficulties faced by insurance companies in achieving simplicity, as BUPA and AXA remained in the bottom ten.

Ryanair, described as a "perennial low-flyer", was also in the bottom ten, but it is quite possible for airlines to make things simpler for their customers, as evidenced by British Airways which rose 22 places to 46th.

"The Global Brand Simplicity Index has shown year after year that the benefits of simplicity remain constant," said Howard Belk, co-CEO and chief creative officer, at Siegel+Gale.

"Brands that offer simpler customer experiences are rewarded with passionate customer loyalty, more innovative employees and greater revenue. In short, embracing simplicity improves the bottom line for brands and organizations."

Data sourced from Siegel+Gale, Kantar; additional content by Warc staff