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The fastest growing (and declining) retail brands 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak has led to the savage disruption of retail the world over.

Almost overnight, foot traffic in physical stores disappeared, and supply chains were left scrambled. Now at a major fork in the road, many retailers are forced to make tough decisions that were completely unforeseen.

While some global retail giants are laying down their weapons and filing for bankruptcy, others are innovating to save themselves, serving their customers in new and unexpected ways.

Today’s graphic uses data from Kantar’s Brand Z™ report to illustrate the retailers that are growing through adversity, and those that may struggle to survive.

Retailers rising to the top

The calculation of brand value refers to the total amount that a brand contributes to the overall business value of the parent company.

In this case, it is measured by taking the financial value of a brand (latest data as of mid-April), and multiplying it by the brand’s contribution, or the ability of the brand to deliver value to the company by predisposing consumers to choose the brand over others or pay more for it, based purely on perceptions.

Based on these metrics, activewear brand lululemon is the world’s fastest-growing retail brand for the second year running. Famous for its culture of accountability and global community events, the brand has struck the perfect balance between a seamless online and offline experience.

Explore the 10 fastest-growing retail brands of 2020 below:

Brand Brand Value 2020 Brand Value % Change
2020 Vs. 2019
Category Country
lululemon $9.7B 40% Apparel 🇨🇦 Canada
Costco $28.7B 35% Retail 🇺🇸 United States
Amazon $415.9B 32% Retail 🇺🇸 United States
Target $10.6B 32% Retail 🇺🇸 United States
Walmart $45.8B 24% Retail 🇺🇸 United States
JD.com $25.5B 24% Retail 🇨🇳 China
Sam’s Club $6.8B 19% Retail 🇺🇸 United States
Alibaba $152.5B 16% Retail 🇨🇳 China
Tanishq $2.8B 15% Retail 🇮🇳 India
Flipkart $4.7B 14% Retail 🇮🇳 India

Interestingly, Walmart holds three spots in the ranking as it also owns Flipkart and Sam’s Club. Moreover, the American retail giant purchased a stake in Chinese e-commerce platform JD.com, which has grown from 5% to 12%.

The two brands entered the strategic partnership together with the goal of dominating the Chinese market and surpassing Alibaba.

The recipe for retail success

While every retailer has a unique growth strategy, according to the authors of the report, there are three factors that are undeniably crucial for success.

  • Value: Offering value for money through fair pricing for all products or services.
  • Uniqueness: Having a clear purpose and standing for something that consumers find meaningful.
  • Premium: Being perceived as being worth more than the price consumers pay.

Further, research also suggests that successful brands dominate their respective category when it comes to brand awareness and consistently provide experiences that enrich their customers’ lives, as demonstrated by lululemon.

As retailers continue to shift their focus towards digital transformation, consumers are still finding great value in having the best of both worlds when it comes to combining e-commerce and brick-and-mortar, otherwise known as “brick and click”.

Retailers struggling to stay relevant

Unfortunately, there are several brands that haven’t yet mastered this winning combination, and the ruthless pandemic economy has only emphasized their struggles.

Here are the 10 fastest declining retail brands of 2020:

Brand Brand Value 2020 Brand Value % Change
2020 Vs. 2019
Category Country
Under Armour $2.6B -34% Apparel 🇺🇸 United States
H&M $4.7B -27% Apparel 🇸🇪 Sweden
Walgreens $6.8B -26% Retail 🇺🇸 United States
Tim Hortons $5.4B -20% Fast Food 🇨🇦 Canada
Subway $13.8B -20% Fast Food 🇺🇸 United States
Burberry $3.8B -18% Luxury 🇬🇧 United Kingdom
M&S $2.5B -18% Retail 🇬🇧 United Kingdom
Uniqlo $8.2B -16% Apparel 🇯🇵 Japan
Dunkin’ $2.4B -15% Fast Food 🇺🇸 United States
The North Face $2.4B -14% Apparel 🇺🇸 United States

Under Armour’s distribution relies heavily on third-party retailers and department stores, so the brand has understandably been negatively impacted by the mass store closures.

While the brand focuses on expanding its personalized and connected fitness product offerings, it faces huge pressure from powerful competitors such as Nike and Adidas who already dominate this space.

A rising tide lifts all shipments

2020 has instigated a retail renaissance of epic proportions through accelerated digitization and changing consumer values. Ultimately, some brands will be better positioned than others to benefit from these changes.

As retailers begin reopening for business, they are presented with an opportunity to recalibrate the current retail landscape by setting new standards for the industry.

  • Katie Jones, where this article was originally published. The report compares brand value of the top 75 retailers globally between 2020 and 2019, using mid-April as a cut-off date for incorporating latest financial information. Some early effects of the pandemic are incorporated in these calculations, but the pandemic’s impact on retail going forward is uncertain.
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Katie Jones
Katie Jones
Katie Jones is a writer and strategist at Visual Capitalist.

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