But strong brands exhibit greater resistanceIt was a challenging year for the category performance in the BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands. Six of 14 categories declined in value compared with only two last year.
Apparel led category growth with a 14 percent increase after being flat a year ago. It was followed by fast food, which rose 11 percent after rising only 4 percent in the 2015 ranking. Most categories that increased last year also increased in the 2016 Global Top 100, but more slowly.
For example, retail and technology rose 8 percent and 6 percent, respectively, this year after having each increased 24 percent in the 2015 ranking. Telecom providers rose 9 percent this year after a 17 percent rise a year ago. Insurance and soft drinks continued to increase in value, but more moderately. Personal care was flat.
Conversely, some of the categories that last year increased only slightly or declined in value, declined sharply in the 2016 global ranking. Global and regional banks fell 11 percent and 12 percent, respectively. A year ago global banks dropped by 2 percent and regional banks increased by 1 percent.
The most extreme year-to-year shift, and a clue that helps explains the category changes overall, is the oil and gas category, which experienced the sharpest decline, 20 percent, following a 6 percent gain a year ago. The precipitous plunge in oil prices, which drove this change, also impacted many of the other categories.
Global economic forces, particularly the slowdown of Brazil, China and Russia also impacted the brand value performance of many categories. Luxury best illustrates the influence of these factors. The category declined 5 percent after declining 6 percent a year ago. Cars and beer also declined slightly.
Without oil and gas, and banks, the categories most affected by global economic and political forces, eight categories improved or remained flat in value and three declined. Looking at the results this way, the key conclusion is that in a difficult year, with economic and geopolitical forces affecting categories across the economy, the most valuable brands proved to be resistant, if not immune, to those forces. (For complete category-by-category analysis, please see seperate artciles on each category in 'Brands and Categories' section.)