Nike ranked as the world’s most valuable apparel brand for the seventh consecutive year, although the brand value was down 13 percent to US$30.4 billion, according to the Brand Finance Apparel 50 2021 report.
Nike still maintains a considerable lead over second-ranked Gucci, with a brand value of US$15.6 billion, down 12 percent from 2020.
In a press release, Brand Finance noted that Nike’s sales were affected last year as the pandemic forced the brand to shutter a majority of its retail store in North America, EMEA and the Asia Pacific. The report also noted that Nike saw an uptick in its online sales, almost doubling in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Brand Finance wrote, “Nike—a brand eminent in innovation—has continued to make leaps and bounds with new technology in its products, most significantly the controversial Nike Vaporfly, a shoe that has dominated the international athletics arena in recent years, with athletes wearing them claiming 31 of the 36 podium positions in the six world marathon majors in 2019. With the shoe surviving a ban for the now-postponed Tokyo Olympics, Nike can once again showcase itself as a brand that has helped to change the face of world athletics and sport.”
Footwear Brands Stamp Authority and Record Growth
The report’s apparel ranking is divided into the following sub-sets:
- fast fashion
- accessories & jewelry
- high street designer
- underwear; and footwear.
Of these sub-sets, footwear is the only one to record an increase in brand value year-over-year, posting a 9 percent increase in brand value on average.
New entrants in its report, Timberland and Converse, performed well this year, recording a 47 percent and 8 percent brand value increase, respectively.
Nike-owned Converse saw a modest increase in sales last year, due to a rise in demand in Europe and higher global digital sales.
In contrast, underwear brands suffered the most this year, with the two brands featured in the ranking losing an average of 19 percent of brand value. Victoria’s Secret’s brand value was down 22 percent to US$4.2 billion and the third-fastest falling brand in its ranking. The brand has faced continued backlash for its lack of diversity in marketing and model line-up, an issue exacerbated as Gen Z consumers redefine the social norms around body image.
The other sub-sets also to fare less favorably this year, all recording drops in average total brand value: luxury (down 10 percent); sportswear (down 7 percent); fast fashion (down 7 percent); watches, accessories & jewelry (down 4 percent); and high street designer (down 13 percent).
Brands To Watch
Fila is the fastest growing brand in this year’s ranking following with a 68 percent brand value increase to US$2.7 billion. The brand, which operates in 70 countries through licensing deals, experienced strong sales growth toward the end of 2020, particularly within the Chinese market. Since Fila Korea purchased the global Fila brand in 2007, the brand has strategically embraced the return of trends which helped it make its name across the sector initially, including a 90s fashion comeback.
New entrants Timberland and Bosideng are the second and third fastest-growing brands, up 47 percent and 39 percent, respectively. China’s Bosideng has entered the ranking in 50th position, with a brand value of US$1.5 billion. Bosideng announced a new clothing line launched with Jean-Paul Gaultier, the former creative director of French luxury fashion house Hermès, down 2 percent to US$11.7 billion, sold in stores and online on Chinese e-commerce giant Tmall’s platform.
Managing Director, Brand Finance, Richard Haigh, commented, “2020 was undoubtedly a tough year for the apparel sector. Global and widespread economic disruption caused a sharp decrease in demand, and lockdown-induced store closures forced brands to digitalize quickly or face dire consequences to sales and profits. Despite the total brand value of the world’s Top 50 most valuable apparel brands declining 8 percent year-on-year, on the whole, we have witnessed remarkable agility and innovation across the sector, which will no doubt stand brands in good stead in the coming year.”
Photo courtesy Nike, the Vaporfly