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US sporting goods giant NIKE has once again retained its position as the world’s most valuable apparel brand, despite a “significant” 12% drop in brand value to US$28bn, new figures show.

According to valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance, Nike experienced a difficult year, especially in the North American market correlated with reduced popularity among teenagers. Tough competition from adidas (up 41% to $14.3bn), meanwhile, played a key role in the struggles faced by Nike, with the German sportswear giant growing rapidly across both sporting and casual categories.

Every year, Brand Finance values the world’s biggest brands. The 50 most valuable apparel brands in the world are included in the Brand Finance Apparel 50 2018 league table.

Brand value is equal to a net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand. Brand strength is used to determine what proportion of a business’s revenue is contributed by the brand.

Closely behind Nike is Swedish fashion retailer H&M, with a brand value of $19bn after a 1% decline. While the Swedish company retained its runner-up spot, its brand value remained relatively stagnant over the last year, with significant pressure upon its bricks and mortar retailing strategy from online competitors.

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By GlobalData

Should the retailer’s woes continue, it will be overtaken by the third most valuable brand, Inditex-owned Zara, which significantly narrowed the gap between the two brands, following a successful year that saw brand revenue jump 21% to $17.5bn.

“The top four brands in apparel are here to stay. However, steep competition to maximise on the sporting apparel trend, coupled with increased choice and information for the consumer could threaten Nike’s future position in the rankings,” says Richard Haigh, managing director of Brand Finance. “This year, Adidas’ brand value is further encroaching on the incumbent champion, which has suffered significant loss to brand value.  Empowerment to the consumer is having a wide-spread impact on the industry, allowing fast-fashion retailer Zara to reign supreme on the high street, challenging H&M and leveraging both online and offline sales platforms to meet consumer demands for variety, fashion and low prices.”

Meanwhile, Hermès has overtaken Louis Vuitton as the most valuable luxury apparel brand, following 36% growth to $11.3bn, and US sportswear brand Under Armour has fallen back to earth after recording the largest brand value drop in the league table at -36% year-on-year. The brand, which is now valued at $3.8bn, had grown remarkably in previous years on the back of its high-tech sports clothing but failed to spread into basketball shoes and other product verticals.

In addition, Chinese sports and footwear brand Anta continued its “remarkable” run of brand value growth, with a 29% hike to $2.6bn this year, climbing from 33rd most valuable apparel brand to 28th.