SAP holds top position as Germany’s most valuable brand for the fourth year running

The BrandZ™ Top 50 Most Valuable German Brands 2021 ranking grows 5% in brand value despite the economic fallout from the pandemic.
11 March 2021
brandz germany 2021
Christoph Prox

Managing Director, Brand, Media & Communications

Despite a turbulent year due to COVID-19 and the threat of a lasting economic recession, the BrandZ™ Top 50 Most Valuable German Brands ranking, published today by Kantar, has risen by 5%, adding $17.3 billion in the past 12 months and resulting in a total brand value of $353 billion.

SAP retained its position as Germany’s most valuable brand, growing 9% to $55.6 billion in brand value, while Deutsche Telekom remained second with a valuation of $47.1 billion. BMW overtook Mercedes-Benz (+1%, $22.3 billion) to secure the no. 3 position, growing by 5% to $23.1 billion.

A protected portfolio

The BrandZ German Top 50 portfolio is one of the most varied country rankings with 19 different categories. The diversity of Germany’s most valuable brands portfolio has helped insulate it from the worst of the pandemic’s economic impact. A reduced demand for cars, financial products and leisure activities has been countered by gains in technology, logistics and online retail categories. Many of Germany’s leading brands also generate significant proportions of their business from markets beyond their home country. This balance of domestic business and exports has served brands well in the past year and is one of the ways in which the German Top 50 ranking has outperformed others that BrandZ tracks.

It is during the most challenging times when the value of brands really becomes apparent. In what has been a turbulent year, brands have been among the few things in life still offering much-needed stability, reliability and continuity. Despite this being one of the worst economic and health crises in decades, German brands are performing well. In fact, more brands have increased in brand value over the last 12 months than have declined.

The performance of BrandZ Germany’s Top 50 brands underlines the value in building strong brand equity. This can act as a catalyst for growth in good times and provide a safety net in more challenging times. While it is true that brands require serious investment and long-term commitment from their parent companies, it’s clear that those businesses that take brand-building seriously are rewarded.

Risers and new entries

Zalando (no.16) has grown in popularity with consumers to become the fastest riser in the BrandZ Germany Top 50 ranking this year, growing by +64% in brand value to $5.1 billion. It offers a huge range of fashion and lifestyle products while focusing the business on diversity, inclusivity and sustainability. Behind rising sales of athleisure wear and a growth in new home fitness regimes, Puma (no.22) rose seven places, increasing +30% to $2.9 billion. Handling an estimated 15% more parcels than the previous year, DHL (no.5) has seen its brand value soar by 19% to $19.7 billion. The logistics company was an obvious beneficiary of the ecommerce boom and has offered help in the COVID-19 vaccination distribution supply chain.

The highest placed newcomer Bechtle (no.37) is the only other technology brand in the ranking, with a brand value of $1.6 billion. Due to a heightened demand for remote working during the pandemic, the technology specialist has carved out a niche for itself providing small and medium-sized enterprises with IT services. Helios Kliniken (no.47) is the second highest newcomer and is the first time that a hospital brand has featured in the German Top 50. With a sustainability focus that is behind recent urban delivery innovations, Hermes becomes the fifth logistics brand in the ranking and the third highest newcomer at no.48.

The BrandZ™ Top 10 Most Valuable German Brands 2021

Rank 2021



Brand Value 2021 ($M USD)






Deutsche Telekom

Telecom Providers



































The importance of trust

BrandZ analysis shows that brands perceived by consumers to be among the world’s most trusted and responsible share three crucial factors that prove particularly important for building consumer trust and confidence: honesty and openness; respect and inclusion; and identifying with and caring for customers. German brands are highly regarded for their focus on quality and reliability.

Brands perceived by consumers to be friendly, kind and caring have performed well as priorities have changed over the last 12 months. Brands that have focused on developing trust credentials and who have communicated these well with consumers are well placed to meet the current needs of consumers during these challenging times. Consumers are willing to reward German brands they traditionally regard as ‘helpers.’

Other key trends highlighted in the BrandZ German Top 50 ranking include:

  • Steady acceleration: Despite a slow year for global car sales, Germany’s car brands have grown their value and continue to make the biggest category contribution to the ranking. Together, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche are worth $67.8 billion in 2021, or 19% of the Top 50’s total value.
  • Led by Deutsche Telekom and followed by 1&1 (no.30, $2.2 billion), telecom providers are the other big contributor of value to the Germany Top 50. Both brands enjoyed strong growth with demand high for services that helped people stay in touch when meeting in person became impossible.
  • Be seen and heard: the pandemic has had the effect of opening people’s minds to new products, brands and services – which means there’s an opportunity to be discovered and to become someone’s new first choice.
  • DIY Boom: Consumers are ‘cocooning’ and spending more time at home. With comfort as a priority people are investing more in furniture, electronics and making home improvements
  • Home and self-improvement: German consumers are taking their hobbies more seriously as a result of the pandemic. Hobby-focused publications have enjoyed a resurgence which is leading to such things as exercise equipment and clothing, kitchen appliances and DIY tools being upgraded.
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