Amazon, the world’s largest online marketplace, has made history by being named as the first brand to be valued at more than $200bn, having increased its brand value by an impressive 17.5% over the past year.

The company also retained its top spot as the world’s most valuable brand for the third consecutive year, according to the latest global 500 ranking report from Brand Finance.

Launched to coincide with the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland, the report revealed that the combined value of the global 500 increased by less than 2% year-on-year, with 244 increasing their brand value and another 212 seeing a decrease, including 95 by 10% or more.

Tech companies accounted for all top five places in Brand Finance’s ranking, although even the second most valuable brand, Google ($159.7bn, up 11.9%), lagged $60bn behind Amazon ($220.8bn).

Apple ($140.5bn, down -8.5%) was placed third, followed by Microsoft ($117bn, down -2.1%) and Samsung ($94.5bn, up 3.5%), while two other leading tech firms, Facebook ($79.8, down -4.1%) and Huawei ($65bn, up 4.5%) made the top ten.

Rounding out the top ten were Chinese bank ISBC ($80.8bn, up 1.2%), retailer Walmart ($77.5bn, up 14.2%) and Chinese insurance giant Ping An ($69bn, up 19.8%).

Walmart’s reappearance in the top ten is noteworthy because, the report explained, it reflects the retailer’s commitment to an expansion programme in key markets as well as its digital innovations.

“As the boost from the novelty of operating in the digital space fizzles out, some online retailers have started to lose brand value, while bricks and mortar chains, which have learnt to successfully adapt to the changing marketplace, are consequently making gains,” the report said.

By contrast, once high-flying eBay saw its brand value drop -9% to $8.2bn to rank the e-commerce firm in 234th place. And China’s Baidu was another tech firm to do badly after recording the largest drop in brand value of -54% to $8.9bn.

“Those which once enjoyed long-term success are now needing to adjust in a world more unpredictable than ever, while many tech brands are suffering after failing to meet the bullish expectations of investors,” the report noted.

Sourced from Brand Finance; additional content by WARC staff