As Americans continue to receive conflicting messages about the state of the economy and a potential recession relapse, findings from the 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend study show many luxury brands made gains in brand equity over the past year. More than 1,500 brands were assessed across over 155 categories this year, and high-end companies—from auto makers to department stores—fared better than in years past in ratings based on the Harris Poll EquiTrend Brand Equity Index, which is the keystone to Harris Interactive’s EquiTrend program. It provides an understanding of a brand’s overall strength, with a brand’s equity is determined by a calculation of familiarity, quality and purchase consideration. The “Brand of the Year” is determined by a simple ranking of brands.
“There’s been a lot of discussion in the media as to whether 2013 will bring about another recession, so it’s interesting to see equity is on the rise for luxury brands typically associated with higher discretionary income, even as other economic indicators suggest a possible downturn,” said Aron Galonsky, senior vice president, brand and communication consulting at Harris Interactive. “This may show that after a number of years spent tightening their belts, consumers are looking to the quality and value they feel these brands provide.”
An increase in brand affinity—and potentially related sales—among higher-end brands is in line with findings from a recent Harris poll that showed a decrease over the past few years in the number of Americans who plan to save more in the year ahead and cut back on household spending, suggesting the appeal of luxury items stayed strong even while such purchases were deferred in tough economic circumstances.
Luxury lifestyle brands, including Saks department stores and MAC Cosmetics, saw increases in their scores from 2012 – and are both top ranked in their respective categories. Both brands had gains of almost 10 points (8.9 and 9.3, respectively) from the year prior.
“Understanding the health of your brand is a critical component in determining the business priorities for companies in any industry,” continued Galonsky. “The higher scores point to increased consumer affinity and likelihood to purchase from these companies.”
Other top companies in the 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend Brands of the Year, by category, include:
- Health and Beauty Products–Cosmetics, Mass Market Cosmetics—Neutrogena Cosmetics
- Health and Beauty Products–Cosmetics, Prestige Cosmetics—MAC Cosmetics
- Health and Beauty Products–Other, Sunscreen—Neutrogena Suncare
- Online Organizations, E-Retailer—Amazon.com
- Online Organizations, Online Department Store—Kohls.com
- Online Organizations, Online Mass Merchandiser—Walmart.com
- Retail Store, Department Store—Kohl’s
- Retail Store, Luxury Department Store—Saks
- Retail Store, Mass Merchandiser—Target
- Retail Store, Off-Price Retailer—Marshalls
- Retail Store, Pharmacy—Walgreens
- Retail Store, Value Store—Dollar Tree
- Retail Store, Warehouse Club—Costco