Japan’s most powerful brands are 5% more valuable than before the pandemic

The Kantar BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Japanese Brands have grown 16% since 2021.
29 November 2022
Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell concept on display in Tokyo
Shishir Varma
Shishir
Varma

Managing Director, Japan, Insights Division, Kantar

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Japan’s most powerful brands have grown their value by 16% over the past two years, as they rebounded from the worst disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a group, the Kantar BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Japanese Brands are now worth US$234.9 billion, $32bn more than the 2021 edition of the ranking. This is 5% higher than the ranking’s pre-pandemic total value, determined in 2019.

Toyota has retained the No.1 position, growing 17% since 2021 to reach a value of $33.3bn. The car giant is also the fifth most valuable brand in Asia-Pacific, excluding China. Consumers rate Toyota very highly on the measure of ‘brand purpose.’ Toyota has announced a range of ‘Mobility for All’ solutions, including i-Ride and its ‘Accessible People Mover’, which was also deployed to transport athletes and officials at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

NTT ($25.6bn) and Sony ($20.2bn) have also held onto their positions as Japan’s second and third most valuable brands. Consumer tech powerhouse Sony is the fastest-growing name in the ranking, increasing its value by 69% since 2021. Despite a microchip shortage that slowed deliveries of its flagship PS5 gaming console, Sony’s multifaceted brand identity and its positioning at the forefront of breakthrough product categories have given it exceptional resilience.

Convenience store brand 7-Eleven ($13.4bn) has entered the Top 5 for the first time, rising from tenth to fourth place. Growth was boosted by its reputation for innovation, which saw the brand roll out forward-thinking, health- conscious concepts like its ‘touchless hologram’ self-checkout kiosks.

18 different categories feature in Japan’s Top 50

Cars is the most valuable category once again, growing 7% to reach a total value of $52.5bn. Telecoms grew by 18% to retain the No.2 spot, while Consumer Technology grew 40% to displace Retail as the third most valuable category. Banks gained 20% in value and retained fifth place. Travel Services increased 42%, despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, due to the strength of Japan’s esteemed airline brands ANA (No.21; $2.5bn) and JAL (No.35; $1.6bn), which lost 45% of its value in 2021, but bounced back this year with an increase of 65%.

Ten new brands have entered Japan’s Top 50 ranking. Food and seasoning brand Ajinomoto (No.24; $2.2bn) and Yamaha (No.26;$2.1bn) were the highest-ranking debuts. This year’s newcomers also include the Sushiro restaurant chain (No.47; $926mn), energy drink brand Aquarius (No.49; $892m) and the retail brand Tokyu Store (No.39; $1.3bn).

More than a third (15) of the brands that have been present in the Japan Top 50 since 2021 have increased their value by more than 20%. Four brands – Sony, 7-Eleven, JAL and Panasonic – grew by more than 40%.

Kantar BrandZ Top 10 Most Valuable Japanese Brands 2023

Rank 2023

Brand

Category

Brand Value 2023 (USD mil)

1

Toyota

Cars

33,320

2

NTT

Telecom Providers

25,568

3

Sony

Consumer Technology

20,209

4

7-Eleven

Retail

13,367

5

Softbank

Telecom Providers

11,227

6

Uniqlo

Apparel

10,849

7

Honda

Cars

10,130

8

Nintendo

Media and Entertainment

9,679

9

Au

Telecom Providers

9,042

10

Nissan

Cars

6,735

Japan’s leading brands have clearly proved that turbulence and uncertainty need not limit strong brands’ ambitions for growth. The success of the Kantar BrandZ Japan Top 50 shows the power the strongest brands have, to grow despite challenging headwinds such as inflation, supply chain shortages and a weakening yen. They can do this because they build meaningful and long-lasting emotional connections with consumers; connections which add layers of intangible value that shield them in times of disruption. The more meaningful and different people perceive a brand to be, the more likely they are to purchase more often, at a higher premium, over a longer period of time. This ensures sustained growth in the present, and in the future.

Other key highlights from Kantar BrandZ’s ranking analysis include:

  • The overseas exposure of Japan’s Top 30 brands – a Kantar calculation that weighs a brand’s business in foreign markets against its business at home – has risen from an average of 43% in 2020 to 47% in 2023. To accomplish this, Japanese brands have become more digitally savvy, as well as more sustainable. Overall, overseas exposure is ahead of the top brands in South Africa, India, and China, Japan’s most valuable brands currently lag behind their peers in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. Japan’s highest performing brands overseas include: Uniqlo, Nintendo and Toyota.
  • Kantar BrandZ analysis has shown that for now, sustainability drives only a small proportion of brand equity in most global markets, including Japan, compared to factors like convenience and functionality. However, Japanese brands in the ranking that grew by more than 20% were more likely to be seen as 'making people’s lives better' and 'environmentally responsible.'

Discover extensive analysis about the 2023 Kantar BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Japanese Brands in the full report available now at www.kantar.com/campaigns/brandz/japan 

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