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Nike named world’s ‘most valuable’ apparel brand

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Sportswear giant Nike has maintained and strengthened its position as the world’s most valuable apparel brand, according to the latest report by independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy, Brand Finance.

Nike’s brand value has increased by 16 percent since last year, according to the Brand Finance Apparel 50 report to 32.4 billion US dollars on the back of healthy sales growth in China, Europe, the Middle East and Africa during the course of the year.

Its status is also confirmed every time it features a new marketing campaign, such as last year’s ‘Dream Crazy’ ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, which sparked a social media backlash in the US with some customers going as far as to burn their Nike products, while this year’s follow-up, ‘Dream Crazier’, has had a positive response as it shows Nike celebrating inspirational female athletes.

Richard Haigh, managing director of Brand Finance, said in a statement: “Nike’s bold marketing makes it stand out in a busy marketplace of sportswear apparel brands. In a time when customers look for experiences and emotional connection, Nike’s offering comes with unambiguous messages and values that people can rally behind.”

The sportswear brand was followed by retail giant Zara, which moved up the world’s ranking from third sport to second, while Nike’s rival Adidas came in third, as H&M’s brand value decrease pushes it down to 4th place.

Spanish fast-fashion retailer Zara, saw its brand value increase by 6 percent to 18.4 billion US dollars, moving into second position as H&M fell down the rankings to fourth place, as its brand value was down 16 percent to 15.9 billion US dollars. Brand Finance notes that its Zara’s integrated store and online business that has seen it gain access to a further 106 countries that has helped raise its ranking, while H&M has struggled with a “mounting stack of unsold inventory”.

Nike’s rival Adidas, took a small bite into some of Nike’s North American market, with brand value rising by 17 percent to 16.7 billion US dollars, however, the gap between the two remains colossal as Nike’s brand value is nearly double that of Adidas.

Uniqlo named fastest-growing apparel brand; while Rolex is named strongest apparel brand

Japanese retailer Uniqlo became the fastest-growing apparel brand in the top ten, with its brand value up a 48 percent year-on-year to 12 billion US dollars, helped by international expansion and its recent collaboration with tennis ace Roger Federer. With Brand Finance adding that its “robust supply chain and high-quality, innovative, affordable clothes that transcend gender, age and ethnicity” are also supporting sales growth.

The strongest apparel brand in the ranking was given to Rolex, as it was the only brand in the Brand Finance Apparel 50 ranking to post the elite AAA+ brand rating. Aside from calculating overall brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance.

With a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 90.0 out of 100, the luxury watchmaker is the strongest brand in the industry. They are followed by Nike in second place, while Inditex-owned Zara and Bershka also make the top 10. However, luxury brands continue to dominate the lineup, with seven of the top 10 strongest brands being from the luxury sector, demonstrating the importance of brand strength in the segment.

For instance, Bottega Veneta’s brand value decreased by 11 percent to 1.6 billion US dollars, however, its arrival in the top 10 list of strongest apparel brands is “noteworthy” states Brand Finance as the brand has tapped into a new approach towards the affluent consumer, namely the idea of selling an aspirational existence.

Haigh, added: “The apparel sector continues to thrive. Brand value growth has been particularly strong among brands aware that consumers who shop both in-store and online spend significantly more than those who buy in bricks-and-mortar boutiques alone. It pays to create a robust omnichannel shopping experience for clients. Collaboration with celebrities, the digital age, and an ability to feed fast-fashion habits whilst being ethically aware will continue to benefit brand value.”

Other brands who made the Brand Finance Apparel 50 top ten includes Cartier, Yves Saint Laurent, Hermes and Gucci.

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Image: courtesy of Nike

Brand Finance