NEW YORK: Technology brands account for five of the top ten most valuable brands in the world and, once again, Apple is the global leader, according to the latest annual brand rankings from Forbes.
The respected business magazine assessed more than 200 global brands and valued Apple at $154.1bn, or around double the value of second-placed Google ($82.5bn) and third-placed Microsoft ($75.2bn).
Unlike some other brand rankings that weigh consumer sentiment, the Forbes list pays close attention to financial data, such as earnings, the price to earnings ratio and the impact of branding on sales within a particular market.
However, the analysis applies only to brands that have more than a token presence in the US, which means some big global names are excluded, such as UK telecoms network Vodafone and Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant.
Apple tops the Forbes list for the sixth year in a row, although Facebook emerged as the fastest-growing brand for the second successive year.
Its brand value rose 44% since last year while other big gainers include Netflix (31%), Google (26%), Amazon (25%) and Citi (19%).
In addition to Apple, Google and Microsoft, the other top ten most valuable brands in the world include Coca-Cola (#4), Facebook (#5), Toyota (#6), IBM (#7), Disney (#8), McDonald's (#9) and GE (#10).
That means Toyota, the Japanese automaker, is the only non-American brand in the global top ten and, indeed, US brands account for 52 of all the brands in the rankings. The US is followed by Germany (11), Japan (8), France (6) and Switzerland (4).
And in terms of industry sectors, technology companies dominate, with 17 of the most valuable brands, followed by financial services (13), autos (12), consumer packaged goods (10), luxury and retail (both 8).
Data sourced from Forbes, Complex.com; additional content by Warc staff