The health and effectiveness of the logistics industry is integral to the smooth operation of international trade, commerce, and transport, all of which were severely hampered last year by the global outbreak of COVID-19. At the start of the pandemic, supply chain disruption proved a major obstacle - particularly where China was the manufacturer - with the nation hit first by the pandemic and heralding wider global challenges. Panic buying led to a boost to the logistics industry, particularly in the outbreak of the pandemic, however the realities of reduced demand for certain products, the implementation of social distancing and other COVID-safe procedures in warehouses, has posed challenges for brands.
That being said, this year the total value of the world’s top 25 most valuable logistics brands, according to the Brand Finance Logistics 25 2021 ranking, has increased from US$170.5 billion to US$177.1 billion.
Richard Haigh, Managing Director, Brand Finance, commented:
“2020 was undoubtedly a tough year for the logistics sector. Widespread disruption to travel, working, and the rhythms of daily life have taken a toll globally. However, many brands have shown resilience and proactivity during the pandemic, with the most valuable brands clearly faring better than many may have anticipated, capitalising on increased reliance on delivery services with the move to working from home globally. This resilience is demonstrated in the total value of the world’s top 25 most valuable logistics brands recording a 4% uplift year-on-year.”
UPS retains top spot
The US continues to dominate the logistics sector, commandeering six spots in the top 10 and its nine brands in total accounting for 59% of the total brand value in the ranking.
UPS has claimed the top spot in the Brand Finance Logistics 25 2021 ranking for a 7th consecutive year, recording a modest 2% increase in brand value, to US$30.1 billion and maintaining its healthy lead over second-ranked FedEx (brand value up 2% to US$23.5 billion).
The giant was able to leverage its strong position in its rapid response to the pandemic, not only adopting stringent practices in its warehouses and distribution networks, but through The UPS Foundation, which gave US$6 million to numerous aid agencies and charities. The brand’s structural resilience, afforded by its size and longevity, have been key to its continued reign, particularly in the face of global disruption.
Uber drives 34% growth
Uber has retained third place, with its brand value jumping 34% to US$20.5 billion. Whilst the disruption of regular life has certainly impacted ride-share and delivery service operations, factors such as consumer weariness around public transport and increased reliance on delivery services, inured the brand against greater damage from the pandemic.
Uber has taken strong measures from the start of the crisis to minimise risk and aid those affected. At the beginning of the outbreak, Uber introduced a ‘no mask, no ride’ policy as a means to protect drivers as well as customers. They have also offered free rides and meals for frontline medical staff, as well as offering discounted and free rides to those getting COVID-19 vaccines in recent weeks.
The Californian giant has faced legal challenges globally, with a recent UK Supreme Court ruling stating that Uber must treat its staff as workers, thus entitled to minimum wage and holiday pay, rather than them being self-employed. How Uber responds to this will have a significant impact on the brand, including the relationship with its newly classified employees, customers who may see price jumps as a result, and its competitors who may fear the regulation spreading.
The food delivery arm of the brand - Uber Eats - has witnessed an exponential rise in demand as customers forced to stay home due to lockdown are turning to home delivery. The brand, which offers contact-free delivery options whereby a food delivery is conveniently left on your doorstep so as not to encourage contact between customer and delivery driver, has also entered the grocery delivery market too, capitalising once again on the stay-at-home orders of many governments worldwide.
SF Express delivers 54% growth
China’s SF Express, is the fastest growing brand in this year’s Brand Finance Logistics 25 2021 ranking, celebrating an impressive 54% brand value growth to US$7.0 billion and simultaneously jumping four spots in the ranking to 8th. The brand was praised by the Chinese government for its action in combatting COVID-19, including delivering supplies and offering free transport. SF Express continues to reap the rewards from its joint relationship with UPS, established in 2017, which has seen the two giants collaborate on international delivery services.
McLane is the fastest falling
Wholesale supply-chain services brand McLane is the fastest falling brand, recording a 25% brand value loss to US$4.4 billion. With one of the brand’s biggest customers being the US restaurants sector it is unsurprising that business has slowed over the last year, with some states completely shutting down in-restaurant dining.
MTR is sector’s strongest
In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, customer familiarity, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. Alongside revenue forecasts, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value. According to these criteria, MTR is once again the strongest logistics brand in the world, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 81.1 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA- brand strength rating.
Despite slowing demand as fewer customers have been using the service, MTR’s expansion of the rapid transit system is a promising sign, with completion due in the coming 18 months. The project will see a new signalling system, 9-car trains, and an expansion of the network across the region. The brand’s environmental commitments to increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions is another indication of its forward-looking approach, a key driver of the brand’s strength.
Richard Haigh, Managing Director, Brand Finance, commented:
“MTR’s ongoing infrastructure projects, as well as its commitment to minimising environmental damage in its work, illustrate its positive and forward-thinking attitudes towards the future. It also signifies promise for the industry more broadly, demonstrating that demand is very much still present for transportation and sets hopes high for the years to come”.
Note to Editors
Every year, Brand Finance puts 5,000 of the biggest brands to the test, evaluating their strength and quantifying their value, and publishes nearly 100 reports, ranking brands across all sectors and countries. The world’s 25 most valuable logistics brands are included in the Brand Finance Logistics 25 2021 report.
The full Brand Finance Logistics 25 2021 ranking, additional insights, charts, more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Logistics 25 2021 report.
Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors. Please see below for a full explanation of our methodology.
About Brand Finance
Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organisations of all kinds make strategic decisions.
Headquartered in London, Brand Finance has offices in over 20 countries, offering services on all continents. Every year, Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes nearly 100 reports which rank brands across all sectors and countries.
Brand Finance is a regulated accountancy firm, leading the standardisation of the brand valuation industry. Brand Finance was the first to be certified by independent auditors as compliant with both ISO 10668 and ISO 20671, and has received the official endorsement of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) in the United States.
Definition of Brand
Brand is defined as a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs, intended to identify goods, services, or entities, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits.
Brand value refers to the present value of earnings specifically related to brand reputation. Organisations own and control these earnings by owning trademark rights.
All brand valuation methodologies are essentially trying to identify this, although the approach and assumptions differ. As a result, published brand values can be different.
These differences are similar to the way equity analysts provide business valuations that are different to one another. The only way you find out the “real” value is by looking at what people really pay.
As a result, Brand Finance always incorporates a review of what users of brands actually pay for the use of brands in the form of brand royalty agreements, which are found in more or less every sector in the world.
This is known as the “Royalty Relief” methodology and is by far the most widely used approach for brand valuations since it is grounded in reality.
It is the basis for our public rankings but we always augment it with a real understanding of people’s perceptions and their effects on demand – from our database of market research on over 3000 brands in over 30 markets.
Brand Valuation Methodology
For our rankings, Brand Finance uses the simplest method possible to help readers understand, gain trust in, and actively use brand valuations.
Brand Finance calculates the values of brands in its rankings using the Royalty Relief approach – a brand valuation method compliant with the industry standards set in ISO 10668.
Our Brand Strength Index assessment, a balanced scorecard of brand-related measures, is also compliant with international standards (ISO 20671) and operates as a predictive tool of future brand value changes and a control panel to help business improving marketing.
We do this in the following four steps:
1. Brand Impact
We review what brands already pay in royalty agreements. This is augmented by an analysis of how brands impact profitability in the sector versus generic brands.
This results in a range of possible royalties that could be charged in the sector for brands (for example a range of 0% to 2% of revenue).
2. Brand Strength
We adjust the rate higher or lower for brands by analysing Brand Strength. We analyse brand strength by looking at three core pillars: “Investment” which are activities supporting the future strength of the brand; “Equity” which are real perceptions sourced from our original market research and other data partners; “Performance” which are brand-related measures of business results, such as market share.
Each brand is assigned a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score out of 100, which feeds into the brand value calculation. Based on the score, each brand is assigned a corresponding Brand Rating up to AAA+, in a format similar to a credit rating.
3. Brand Impact x Brand Strength
The BSI score is applied to the royalty range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty range in a sector is 0-5% and a brand has a BSI score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4%.
4. Brand Value Calculation
We determine brand-specific revenues as a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to the brand in question and forecast those revenues by analysing historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts, and economic growth rates.
We then apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues and apply the relevant valuation assumptions to arrive at a discounted, post-tax present value which equals the brand value.
Brand Finance has produced this study with an independent and unbiased analysis. The values derived and opinions presented in this study are based on publicly available information and certain assumptions that Brand Finance used where such data was deficient or unclear. Brand Finance accepts no responsibility and will not be liable in the event that the publicly available information relied upon is subsequently found to be inaccurate. The opinions and financial analysis expressed in the study are not to be construed as providing investment or business advice. Brand Finance does not intend the study to be relied upon for any reason and excludes all liability to any body, government, or organisation.
The data presented in this study form part of Brand Finance's proprietary database, are provided for the benefit of the media, and are not to be used in part or in full for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.