Coca-Cola remained the world’s biggest brand in 2020, but Dettol, Lifebuoy and Vim are the undisputed winners of the lockdown. Shoppers gravitated towards brands they knew best during the pandemic, and the impact is even more compelling online.
Every year, Kantar Worldpanel researchers publish their list of the 50 most popular global brands. For the ninth edition of their Brand Footprint study, they examined 23,500 brands in 54 markets representing 73 per cent of the world’s population and 89 per cent of global gross domestic product. For each brand, they examined how many families bought it worldwide and how often. They express the score in Consumer Reach Points or CRPs: the number of families in a country multiplied by the percentage of families who buy brand X, multiplied by the number of interactions with that brand during a year.
What does it show? The impact of the Covid crisis was profound. In the years 2017, 2018 and 2019, volume growth in the FMCG sector had dropped to around 2 to 3 per cent per annum. But 2020 saw a remarkable resurgence with a 10 per cent growth. As a result, 29 of the 50 largest global brands experienced growth in the home consumption segment in 2020, the highest number in the existence of the Brand Footprint, first published in 2013. Not all categories benefited from the pandemic: food brands grew the most, personal care and hygiene brands the least. Out-of-home consumption inevitably experienced a sharp decline.
Penetration as a growth driver
88 per cent of winning brands triumphed by attracting more shoppers. In 2019, this was 84 per cent. Penetration remains the most important growth driver. The study also found that big brands (with a global penetration of more than 30 per cent) grew more strongly, indicating that shoppers gravitated back towards the brands they knew best during the pandemic. This effect is even more prominent online: e-commerce mainly favours the big, well-known brands.
The top of the global brand charts is relatively stable. Over the last five years, 44 brands have maintained their position in the top 50. Nine brands held their place in the top ten. This year, there was only one newcomer in the entire top 50: American Campbell’s. Four brands rose ten or more places over the past five years: Brooke Bond, Close-Up, Dettol and Vim. Only three brands from the original top 50 in 2013 have managed to grow every year since Dove, Vim and Dettol.
The top performers
Coca-Cola and Colgate continue to lead the world’s top ten brands, but ‘forever in third place’ Maggi had to make way for Lifebuoy, Unilever’s hand soap brand. Dettol, Lifebuoy and Vim are the big winners from the lockdown: they had the strongest growth in penetration worldwide last year. As a matter of fact, last year, Dettol had the strongest growth in penetration ever. The brand attracted 69 million new consumers. The connection with the Covid crisis is indisputable. Maggi, Oreo and Heinz also recorded considerable growth, followed by Palmolive, Lay’s, Barilla and Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola is also the most popular brand online. The strong online growth for snack brands such as Lay’s and Oreo is remarkable but not entirely surprising. The entire world began to snack a little more in times of lockdown, and so consumers ordered more treats online…
The biggest FMCG brands
The FMCG brands bought most frequently online
The biggest growers