Tech companies rated top brands by global consumers

20th Jan 2014

Consumer perception has never been so important, and YouGov’s latest brand index reveals that despite a year of trials (literally, in some cases) and tribulations, global opinion still sways most positively towards the world’s mightiest technology companies.

A year on from Samsung, Google and Apple being voted the globe’s most admired brands in YouGov’s last annual index, all three brands once again featured in the top 5 list for global perception, with Apple the only tech brand slipping down the list, replaced by YouTube (owned by Google) in third place.

Samsung is voted the globe’s most admirable brand, while Google follows hot on the Korean tech manufacturer’s heels, in second place.

Both companies continued to expand exponentially during 2013, however both also experienced some high-profile hitches. Google was relentlessly condemned across many regions for supposed tax avoidance schemes, and experienced a number of skirmishes in international courtrooms throughout the year for various patenting, licensing and privacy disagreements.

Samsung also experienced notoriety in the courts, going head-to-head with Apple over patents to their smartphone design before experiencing a slightly comical end to 2013 (ok, it was actually the start of 2014, but it needed a mention) with Bay-gate, which landed some pretty undesirable press on the company’s doorstep.

Overall, none of this appears to be damaging, however, in the eyes of the customer. The YouGov BrandIndex, which tracks consumer perception of brands through daily nationally representative surveys in 15 countries around the world, assigned a ‘Buzz’ score based on whether respondents have heard anything positive or negative about a brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news, word-of-mouth or friends and family. It compiled their opinions from across a whole year to deliver their final results.  

Samsung rates in the top 25 most well-regarded brands in 13 of the 15 countries surveyed, while Google comes top 25 in 12 countries. They are followed by YouTube in third place, which ranks in the top 25 in 10 countries. German automaker Volkswagen (eight) and American electronics brand Apple (eight) both rank fourth globally. Rounding off the list of global super brands are Sony, Audi and BMW, which rank in the top 25 in six of 15 countries surveyed.

In Brazil, China and Mexico, three of the major emerging economies covered in the YouGov rankings, all of the global super brands rank highly with consumers. Google is notably absent from the top 25 in China (the search engine doesn’t operate there due to national web censorship disagreements), while Samsung is rated number one among Chinese consumers. Chinese search engine Baidu has the largest share in internet search in China, and is the country’s third most well-regarded brand, according to the BrandIndex. 

In addition to Volkswagen, German car makers Audi and BMW also make the top 25 in both Brazil and China, and enjoy a strong global profile in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Japanese electronics company Sony is also in a strong position, making the top 25 in six countries, spanning Latin America, Europe and the US.

The most noticeable absentee from all global admiration lists is Amazon, a company with perhaps the world’s largest footprint. ships over 300 delivery items per second worldwide, with sales generating over $61bn in 2012. Their global network of warehouses is said to be the equivalent size of over 10,000 Olympic swimming pools, while their infrastructure division (Amazon Web Services) incorporates some of the largest data centres across the globe is responsible for hosting over 12m websites.        

Yet the business is not rated admirably as a brand, according to YouGov, with no countries voting the powerhouse in their top ten favourites.

The UK was perhaps the most doubting when it came to technology brands, favouring the idiosyncratic and homegrown instead by voting BBC iPlayer as its favourite brand, followed by John Lewis with Dyson in its top 5.

4 supermarket chains featured in the UK’s top 10 brands, despite many a 2013 scandal within the industry. And technology companies did still feature, with Samsung as the UK’s third most admirable and YouTube in tenth, showcasing the universal appeal of tech in even the most sceptical of nations.

“Technology and internet brands transcend national boundaries and provide products and services that impact people’s daily lives,” said YouGov BrandIndex CEO, Ted Marzilli.

“Whether it is technologies made by Samsung, Apple and Sony, or the wealth of information and videos made instantly available by Google and YouTube, these companies shape modern life and connect people from around the world, making them some of the most powerful global super brands.”


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