Its smartphone sales may be slipping, the iPhone 7 has been criticized for looking overly similar to last year’s model (and having no 3.5mm headphone jack), and analysts predict it will sell fewer smartwatches this year than in 2015. But despite all this, Apple has been named the most valuable brand in the world for the fourth year in a row.
Brand consultancy firm Interbrand placed Apple at number one with a brand valuation of $178.1 billion, a five percent increase from last year. Rival Google sits behind the Cupertino company with a brand valuation of $133.2 billion, eleven percent higher than in 2015.
Technology companies take up ten of the top twenty places on the list. Microsoft sits behind Coca-Cola in fourth place with a $72.7 billion brand value, up eight percent over the last 12 months. Further down the top ten is IBM; it may have dropped nineteen percent from last year, but the industry giant's $52.5 billion brand value places it at number six.
A fourteen percent increase in 2016 puts Samsung beneath IBM at number seven with a brand value of $51.8 billion, while Amazon, which saw its stock pass the $800 milestone for the first time last month, is at number eight. The online retailer's brand value increased a massive 33 percent this year to $50.3 billion.
The other tech firms in the top 20 are Intel at fourteen ($36 billion, +4 percent), Facebook at fifteen ($32.5 billion, +48 percent), Cisco at sixteen ($30.9 billion, +4 percent), and Oracle at seventeen ($26.5 billion, -3 percent).
Two companies have joined the list this year: Tesla at number 100 ($4 billion) and Dior at 89 ($4.9 billion).
Facebook and Amazon experienced the biggest growth in brand value across 2016 – 48 percent and 33 percent, respectively.
Writing about Apple’s success, Interbrand noted: “Apple shows how ecosystems drive value. Analysts have often pointed out that ‘Apple has superior products.’ While true, this opinion undersells the brilliance of Apple’s functionally- integrated model. Its software, hardware, and touchpoints are connected not just by beautiful design aesthetics, but by a level of interoperability that justifies the Apple premium and discourages defections to another platform. And the more data you share, the more personal it becomes— adding new devices is painless and the thought of switching increasingly unpromising. Apple is the Alpha of Cohesiveness in full effect.”