Google Ends Apple's Three-Year Run as Most Valuable Global Brand

Facebook, Yahoo Post Massive Gains in BrandZ Ranking

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Google has topped Apple as the world's most valuable brand.

The search giant's brand value surged 40% in the last year to $159 billion, while Apple's slid 20% to $148 billion, according to the BrandZ ranking, which is commissioned by WPP and compiled by Millward Brown Optimor. It is the ninth year the ranking has been produced. Apple had held the top spot for three years.

"Google has been hugely innovative in the last year with Google Glass, investments in artificial intelligence and a multitude of partnerships that see its Android operating system becoming embedded in other goods such as cars," said Nick Cooper, managing director of Millward Brown Optimor. "All of this activity sends a very strong signal to consumers about what Google is about, and it has coincided with a slowdown at Apple."

Google Glass
Google Glass

Microsoft, Visa and Amazon were also among those brands that posted double-digit gains this year, ranking 4th, 7th and 10th, respectively. Facebook, Samsung and Yahoo, while not ranked in the top 10, also saw huge jumps in brand value in the last year. Facebook's brand value rose 68% to $35.7 billion, while Samsung increased 21% to $25.9 billion and Yahoo jumped 44% to $14.2 billion. Both Twitter and LinkedIn entered the Top 100 for the first time this year, ranking 71 and 78, respectively.

The BrandZ ranking measures brand equity based on business performance and interviews with over two million consumers globally about thousands of brands.

BrandZ Top 10 Most Valuable Global Brands
Brand % Change Value (billions)
1. Google +40% $158.8
2. Apple -20% $147.9
3. IBM -4% $107.5
4. Microsoft +29% $90.2
5. McDonald's -5% $85.7
6. Coca-Cola +3% $80.7
7. Visa +41% $79.2
8. AT&T +3% $77.9
9. Marlboro -3% $67.3
10. Amazon +41% $64.3

Most Valuable Brands by Category
Apparel: Nike
Automotive: Toyota
Beer: Bud Light
Fast Food: McDonald's
Global Banks: HSBC
Insurance: Ping An
Luxury: Louis Vuitton
Personal Care: L'Oréal Paris
Oil & Gas: Shell
Regional Banks: Wells Fargo
Retail: Amazon
Soft Drinks: Coca-Cola
Technology: Google
Telecoms: AT&T