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February 28, 2019

Nike retains position as world’s most valuable apparel brand

By Beth Wright

US sporting goods giant NIKE  has once again retained its place as the world’s most valuable apparel brand, strengthening its position with a 16% rise in brand value since last year, new figures show.

According to valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance, NIKE ‘s brand value has surged to US$32.4bn on the back of healthy sales growth in China, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa during the course of the year.

Rival adidas , meanwhile, has bitten into some of NIKE ‘s North American market, with brand value rising by 17% to $16.7bn. Nevertheless, the gap between the two remains “colossal”, says Brand Finance, as NIKE ‘s brand value is nearly double that of its German counterpart.

NIKE ‘s bold marketing makes it stand out in a busy marketplace of sportswear apparel brands,” says Richard Haigh, managing director of Brand Finance. “In a time when customers look for experiences and emotional connection, NIKE ‘s offering comes with unambiguous messages and values that people can rally behind.”

Meanwhile, Spanish fast-fashion retailer Zara , (brand value up 6% to $18.4bn) has moved into second position supplanting Swedish fast fashion retailer H&M which fell fourth place with a 16% drop in brand value to $15.9bn. 

Whilst Zara ‘s acclaimed integrated store and online business has seen it gain access to a further 106 countries, H&M has struggled with a mounting stack of unsold inventory, says Brand Finance. It is also changing its UK womenswear sizes after repeated complaints from customers that the clothes are smaller than expected. The effects of Zara ‘s controversial rebranding on customer loyalty remain to be seen in next year’s valuation.

But it was Fast Retailing-owned Uniqlo which was named the fastest-growing apparel brand in the top 10, with the casual clothing brand surging 48% year-on-year to $12bn. 

A robust supply chain and high-quality, innovative, affordable clothes that transcend gender, age and ethnicity are also supporting sales growth, says Brand Finance.

Uniqlo aims to be the world’s largest clothing retailer by 2020 by increasing sales in the US, China and online; it has already managed this in Asia.

“The apparel sector continues to thrive. Brand value growth has been particularly strong among brands aware that consumers who shop both in-store and online spend significantly more than those who buy in bricks-and-mortar boutiques alone,” adds Haigh. “It pays to create a robust omnichannel shopping experience for clients. Collaboration with celebrities, the digital age, and an ability to feed fast-fashion habits whilst being ethically aware will continue to benefit brand value.”

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