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Categories At-A-Glance

Categories At-A-Glance



  • The athleisure brands were aligned with the way people live today. They are in the sweet spot linking the cultural shift to health and wellness with the preference for casual clothing.
  • Fast fashion suffered because faster fashion was available online, often from China, and fast fashion was misaligned with rising consumer mindfulness about the environmental cost of producing, transporting, and selling disposable products.

CARS -7%

  • This year the major brands will stake their claims in the electric car business. But hybrid volume will grow until electric production catches up.
  • Cars are becoming another connected device on the Internet of Things. Winning car brands will be those that excel at digital.
  • The car category is shifting to the East, with Chinese car brands leading in electric and preparing to export to the West.


  • Luxury brands are becoming more accessible, while luxury products remain exclusive.
  • Luxury experiences are becoming more important as attitudes about materialism change. Sustainability carries social currency.
  • With the expansion of the sharing society and the growth of e-commerce, competition is coming from resale, rental, and emerging brands.


  • Personal care is “Woke.” Brands introduced sustainable products and packaging, and became more inclusive, with products recognizing gender fluidity.
  • Time-crunched lives drove the need for simplified products.
  • Start-ups, often from Asia, are easily accessing new markets on e-commerce and challenging the established brands with promises of quality at a lower price.


  • Online and offline are converging, with the consumer desire for frictionless experience and convenience rising most dramatically in China.
  • E-commerce leaders Amazon and Alibaba are opening more physical stores and focusing on grocery.
  • Physical store giant Walmart is using its knowledge from Jet and JD to expand its online presence and reduce its physical footprint.


BEER -6%

  • Beer consumption continues to be under pressure for several reasons, including changing attitudes toward drinking, especially among young people.
  • Major brands are responding with new taste variants and with a priority on NABLAB (no alcohol- and low-alcohol beer).
  • They are also looking at direct-to-consumer distribution channels, including e-commerce and subscriptions/social commerce.


  • The volume decline of carbonated soft drinks is leveling, premiumization is driving value, and the leading brands took major initiatives.
  • Coca Cola purchased Costa Coffee, the UK coffee shop, giving Coke a retail presence and a credibility halo for its new, healthier beverages.
  • Pepsi purchased SodaStream, which adds to its sustainability creds, provides access to new, younger drinkers, and a new experience for engaging with the brand.
  • These developments add direct-to-consumer possibilities and also new occasions.


  • It is no longer about the binary choice between eat at home or eat out. The new choice is between low-time-investment and high-time-investment.
  • McDonald’s and Domino’s added more digital and artificial intelligence initiatives.
  • Chipotle is back. Under new leadership since its food safety issue of a few years ago, the brand has improved operations and developed a drive thru that works similar to click and collect and is run by a separate kitchen operation.



  • Bank brands took growth initiatives—sometimes out of their core business (Goldman Sachs moving into retail; Lloyds moving into asset management).
  • Banks are facing a trust paradox: To continue to sustain customer loyalty and trust they need to invest in technology; to fund the investment, banks are closing branches, the touchpoints that build trust.


  • Insurance brands are managing the tension between commoditization and customization.
  • Enabled by technology and data collection and analysis, major insurance brands are rapidly moving beyond transactional relationships with their clients and offering more personalized products, relevant to particular lifestyle and life stage circumstances.



  • The shift toward renewables is accelerating, and both Europe and North America are moving in that direction, but Europe is moving faster.
  • Energy brands will need consumer support during the transition to renewables, so the consumer-facing brand should become more important.
  • The consumer-facing brand also should become more important for companies building their downstream business and branding non-energy products.



  • Consumers felt betrayed by privacy abuses. Devices seem less new and shiny.
  • In a reversal of fortune, the business-to-business technology brands outperformed the consumer brands in brand value growth.
  • While US brands continue to dominate the BrandZ Global technology ranking, China is the second-most represented country.


  • Telecom providers are struggling with a major disconnect. The brands are communicating 5G, but without a clear consumer proposition for its use.
  • US telecom providers have shifted further away from being commodities. With court approval of the AT&T-Time-Warner hook-up, ATT&T becomes an entertainment brand.