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U.S. tech companies dominate world's most valuable brands

Tech completely dominates all other industries when it comes to brand value, according to WPP and Kantar Millward Brown's 12th annual global brands report released Tuesday.*

Not surprisingly, nine of the top 10 brands are tech companies, with some of the biggest U.S. tech giants owning the top five: Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. At the same time, most of the new entrants on the list also belong to mega U.S. tech companies, like YouTube (65), Salesforce (90) Netflix (92), and Snapchat (93).

Data: WPP, Kantar Millward Brown, BrandZ, Bloomberg; Note: From the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2017 list; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Staggering stat: The Top 10 companies in 2017 (9 of which are tech or tech-related) are worth almost as much as the entire Top 100 in 2006 ($1.42 trillion vs $1.44 trillion). Only one of them, Tencent (which owns Chinese mega social platform WeChat), isn't American.

Why it matters: Consumer technology companies are growing to dominate the brand ecosystem, and that is due in part to their ability to leverage mass amounts of data to quickly enter new markets and better serve existing ones.

Other key takeaways:

  • Amazon, Adidas ascend: Amazon had the highest dollar value growth over all 100 brands, increasing by 41% to $139.3 billion and Adidas achieved the highest rise in percentage growth, increasing its value 58% or by $8.3 billion.
  • Retail rises: While tech completely dominates by current value, the retail category is the fastest growing, increasing +14% year over year driven by e-commerce companies like Amazon and Alibaba.
  • $100 billion club: The number of brands worth over $100 billion increased by 50% this year and 2/3 of them belong to tech companies.

Why measure brand value? Understanding companies' value as brands helps determine their ability to drive future business. Coach, for example, overpaid for its acquisition of Kate Spade earlier this year, but investors still raised share prices because they were confident in the brand strategy around the acquisition. Because of this, marketing experts, like Former Subway CMO Tony Pace, argue that brand value should play a bigger role in financial reports to shareholders.

* Brand value is defined as a combination of business and financial performance metrics as well as consumer and B2B perceptions of a company to show the potential that a brand has in driving future business.