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Category Growth

Category Growth

India’s Unique, Diverse Brand Landscape

Finance brands contribute the most brand value

While the total value of the BrandZ™ Top 75 Most Valuable Indian Brands grew by 6 percent in 2019, there category-level picture was much more dynamic.

Brands in the Tech, Retail and Household categories have grown the most in the last year, with increases of 30, 27, and 26 percent, respectively. These figures are partly attributable to new brands from these categories entering the Top 75 ranking.

Strip those new entrants out, however, and the Tech, Retail and Household categories would still continue to show impressive double-digit growth. So would categories including B2B Tech, Food & Drink, and Personal Care.

The Automotive category has declined the most in the past year, at 14 percent, followed by Alcohol and Tobacco. This is in line with global trends and pressures on these industries.

Meanwhile, the financial services category is the largest in India in terms of its share of the total value of the BrandZ™ Top 75, at 23 percent of the whole. Tech brands – most notably the B2B tech services giants – are another hugely valuable category.  Indian FMCG brands have also turned out a strong showing, and make up a larger share of the India Top 75 than their foreign FMCG counterparts do in their respective national rankings.

A larger, more balanced brand economy has helped to sustain overall growth in India. India’s top brands come from a wider mix of categories than is typically seen in BrandZ™ country reports. Although India’s biggest sector, Banking and Finance, accounts for 23% of the total value of its Top Brands, that’s less than in other countries’ rankings, where the biggest categories typically capture anywhere from 46 to 27 percent of the total value.

In addition to considering what categories do rate highly on the BrandZ™ Top 75 Most Valuable Indian Brands list, it is also interesting to note which categories don’t register in a strong way. Relative to other countries, categories that are under-represented in India’s Top 75 brand portfolio include:

  • Luxury
  • Healthcare
  • Beauty
  • Fast Food
  • Retailers: Apparel, Furnishings
  • Leisure & Travel

This is not to say that some of these categories are wholly unrepresented on the ranking – Titan Company’s jewelry brand Tanishq, for example, has been a strong player in recent years. But there’s no reason why India shouldn’t have more strong business in these areas. Conglomerates and entrepreneurs should ask themselves: Is there a way for Indian brands to expand, evolve, and disrupt in these categories?

Winning on Meaningful Difference

Meanwhile, India’s Top 75 brands have remained strong on all the key pillars of brand equity: Meaningful (creating an affinity with consumers and meeting their needs), Different (being distinctive or trend setting), and Salient (coming to mind quickly and easily as the answer when people are making category purchases).

The average scores for Meaningfulness, Difference, and Salience across all global brands rated by BrandZ™ is 100. India’s Top 75 Brands, in contrast, score an average of 127 for Meaningful, 125 for Different, and 142 for Salient.

In other words: these brands are mostly seen as leaders in their categories. They are highly familiar, as consumers encounter them every day. And they excel at understanding consumer needs and meeting consumer expectations – leading them to have positive relationships and brand associations.


These associations help to boost brands’ overall value, even in a slower-growth year such as this one. Within the Top 75, those brands in the top half for Meaningful Difference grew an average of 5.6 percent, while brands in the bottom half grew an average of 1.2 percent.

What’s more, the higher a brand’s rank within the Top 75, the higher its scores for Meaningful, Different, and Salient tend to be.

How to cultivate Meaningful Difference is, of course, an eternal and ever-evolving challenge for brands. This year, an analysis of Indian brands with high meaningful difference surfaced correlations with strong emotional Affinity, a sense of Corporate Responsibility and Purpose, a sense of Premiumness, and strong brand Personality (across attributes like Creativity, Caring, and Trustworthiness).