With little sign of a growth slowdown, Amazon has become the world’s most valuable brand, according to the 2019 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking.

The ranking combines market data from Bloomberg with extensive consumer insights from over 3.7-million consumers worldwide, covering 166,000 brands in more than 50 markets.

Amazon’s acquisitions, which have brought new revenue streams, excellent customer service and the ability to stay ahead of competitors by offering diverse products and services, have allowed it to accelerate its brand value growth.

"Amazon’s phenomenal brand value growth of almost $108bn in the past year demonstrates how brands are now less anchored to individual categories and regions," says Doreen Wang, global head of BrandZ. "The boundaries are blurring as technology fluency allows brands such as Amazon, Google and Alibaba to offer a range of services across multiple consumer touchpoints."

Amazon moved ahead of Apple and Google, which rose a modest 3% and 2% respectively.

The only SA link to this illustrious list is the internet-based tech company Tencent — the jewel in the Naspers stable — which has dropped three places since last year to No 8. It declined 27% to $130.9bn year on year.

Alibaba has overtaken Tencent to become the most valuable Chinese brand, moving up two places to seventh position and growing 16% to $131.2bn.

Facebook remains in sixth place.

As other social media platforms face challenges in terms of trust and desirability, Instagram, now with over 1-billion users, emerged as this year’s fastest riser, climbing 47 places with a massive 95% growth in brand value.

Lululemon, the yoga-inspired athletics apparel company, is the second-fastest riser, stretching to 77% growth year on year to $6.92bn.

Other top risers, such as Netflix (+65%, 34th, $34.3bn), Amazon (+52%, first, $315.5bn) and Uber (+51%, 53rd, $24.2bn), reflect a rapidly changing technology-driven world in which consumers are placing more value on richer brand experiences, says BrandZ.

"The growth in value of this year’s top 100 brands to an all-time high proves the power of investing in brands to deliver superior shareholder value," says BrandZ chair David Roth.

"Behind this headline growth figure lies the success coming from a new phenomenon of ecosystem brand building."

What we’re seeing, he adds, is "a move from individual product and service brands to a new era of highly disruptive ecosystems. Brands need to understand the value this type of model can create and should embrace its approach to be successful in the future."

The survey points out that despite the economic uncertainty due to the US-China trade war, $328bn of value was added to the top 100 global ranking over the past year, giving it a combined brand value of $4.7-trillion — about the combined GDP of Spain, Korea and Russia.

Two other key trends emerge from the survey: luxury is the fastest-growing category (up 29%), followed by retail (+25%) and technology; and finance and retail categories dominate, accounting for more than two-thirds of the total value of brands.