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LONDON – Apparel brands saw some of the fastest brand value growth in the last year as shoppers grew their athleisure wardrobes, according to the Kantar Brandz Most Valuable Global Brands 2021 ranking. The report reveals apparel category grew in value by 53 per cent over the last year, outpacing the growth of media & entertainment, and second only to consumer technology.

The sector benefited from changing habits during lockdown as shoppers prioritised loungewear, athleisure and sports brands such as Lululemon, Nike, Puma and Adidas. Luxury brands also saw significant brand value growth with the category growing 34 per cent in value.

Diversifying channels such as live streaming content, gamification and subscription models played a key role in driving growth, with both Nike and Lululemon benefitting from investment in these areas.

Of apparel brands, Uniqlo saw the fastest growth of 88 per cent, thanks to its unique business model – avoiding appealing to fast fashion like competitors and ordering large batches of basic wear that won’t go out of fashion.

UK brand ASOS and Chinese sports brand ANTA entered the category ranking for the first time thanks to success in their home markets. ASOS’ growth comes thanks to its strong digital offering and differentiation. In contrast ANTA has tapped into health and wellness trends over the last few years.

Louis Vuitton retained its number spot and was the fastest riser in the luxury category, growing 46 per cent year on year. The brand has strong consumer relationships around the world and remains the most culturally relevant of luxury brands, being seen as increasingly innovative due to timely celebrity, gaming and brand partnerships and a growing ecommerce and social presence.

Said Nathalie Burdet, CMO of Kantar: “This year’s results indicate that despite economic hardship, as consumers we are still treating ourselves. Both the apparel and luxury markets have seen growth thanks to their ability to adapt to changing habits and market conditions.

“The Kantar BrandZ Most Valuable Global Brands ranking continues to show high growth brands have a stronger reputation – especially for sustainable and ethical purposes. To compete effectively, luxury and apparel brands must demonstrate meaningful difference – the winning formula for future growth.”

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