New research from Brand Finance shows that search giant Google has overtaken Apple to become the world’s most valuable brand.
The yearly Global 500 study, published on February 1st, has found a 24% increase in Google’s value over the past year. This was enough to lift it above Apple, which suffered a 27% drop, and into first place.
Google’s value is now up to an estimated $109,470m (£86,414m) according to the study, with Apple’s a little behind at $107,141m (£84,576m). This news may surprise many following reports of iPhone sales growth in late 2016.
The progress of Google will not come as a shock though, with 2016 being another big year for the Californian company. It made significant inroads in VR with the development of its platform Daydream, and it was also an excellent year for Google’s Android operating system. In May last year, it exceeded three quarters of the European market share (75.6%), recording its strongest growth since 2014, although this was prior to the release of the iPhone 7.
David Haigh, Chief Executive of Brand Finance, told Sky News that many analysts believe a ‘zenith’ has been reached by Apple, hence it losing its place at the top of the standings.
Evidence of how global leaders can lose ground on new and emerging enterprises can be found in the form of Microsoft. Once the go-to company for operating systems, the firm remains in the top five but is some way behind the top two, and is beaten to third and fourth place by Amazon and AT&T respectively.
With appearances from Facebook, Samsung and Verizon, eight of the top ten companies in the list are technology or telecommunications firms. Facebook’s brand value growth of 83% is the largest in the top ten.
Looking at the top 100, the biggest growth was achieved by Chinese tech companies Tencent (124%) and WeChat (103%), showing the continuing emergence of East Asia in the digital world.
Apple’s 27% shrink was the greatest in the top 100, with Vodafone (22%) and American Express (19%) also among the hardest hit.
Brand Finance’s table for brand power also has a new leader, with Lego overtaking Disney.
Though still best known for the colourful building blocks, Lego’s newfound power comes from expanding into film and gaming, Haigh explains. The top ten also includes the likes of clothing giant Nike and sports car manufacturer Ferrari.