Remarkably, Amazon edged out Walmart as the most-valuable retail
brand by Millward Brown's accounting, with its brand value rising
37% to $37.6 billion as Walmart's fell 5% to $37.3 billion. Walmart
parent Wal-Mart Stores still has more than 10 times the sales and
more than five times the market capitalization of Amazon. But
BrandZ's calculation subtracts tangible assets from market value to
help estimate brand value. Amazon, with no physical stores, fares
well in that process. The Walmart brand value also doesn't include
Sam's Club or other overseas affiliates with different brand names
owned by Wal-Mart Stores.
Even so, Amazon's rise, combined with declines in brand value
not only for Walmart but also for other top global retailers Tesco
and Carrefour last year, marks the shift toward e-commerce.
"Amazon benefits incredibly by having user reviews integrated
into its site," said Eileen Campbell, global CEO of Millward Brown.
"Everybody does that now, but Amazon was the first, so it's done an
incredibly good job of building trust."
Rebounding from a tough year battling widespread recalls and
reports of quality problems, Toyota's brand value rose 11% to $24.1
billion last year, putting it back atop automotive brands.
But BP, hit hard by its Gulf of Mexico oil spill, took a 27% hit
to brand value. And it may not bounce back as quickly as Toyota,
Ms. Campbell said. Toyota's quick rebound reflects the underlying
strength of the brand. But BP faces substantial doubts in surveys
among decision makers on drilling leases and contracts, she
According to Ms. Campbell, growth of tablets and smartphones led
to big gains in brand value for a lot of tech and telecom brands,
which occupied the top three spots and six of the top 10. All but
one of those, No. 2 Google, gained brand value year over year.
Google slipped 2% despite the success of its Droid operating
In an email, Ms. Campbell said Google's drop is mainly
attributable to a 4% decrease in market capitalization from the
year before and investments in such mobile platforms and the Chrome
browser that she described as "heavy and ahead of return." Google's
exit from China only affects about 2% of its revenues, she said,
but did help boost Baidu's value.
"Google is still pretty hot," she said. "It remains one of the
most-desirable and trusted brands we track."
Down the list, BlackBerry's brand value also slipped 20% last
year, which Ms. Campbell attributed to the once-dominant smartphone
brand not having as much new-product news as competitors.
The fastest growth in brand value came for Facebook, up 246% to
$19.1 billion and No. 35 on the list. Chinese search engine Baidu
was the second-fastest grower, leapfrogging dozens of older brands
with a 141% increase to land at No. 29 on the list at $22 .6
Wells Fargo led a number of financial players whose fortunes
rebounded from the financial crisis and recession of 2008 and 2009.
Its brand value nearly doubled, up 97% to $36 .9 billion, or No.
16. Overall financial players gained 9% in brand value on average,
as 15 of the top 20 financial brands on the list gained in value,
nine of them by double-digit percentages.