Image: Hermès

Despite the negatively affected “financial prospects of luxury and premium brands” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in a drop in their brand value, a handful of fashion and luxury names took spots on the list of the top 10 most valuable brands in France again this year. According to Brand Finance’s annual France 500 report, which ranks companies to their “brand value,” Louis Vuitton took the number 4 spot (down one spot from last year), followed by Chanel in the number 5 position (up two spots from 2020), Cartier in seventh (down from 5 last year), and Hermès in eighth (up one spot on a year-over-year basis). Multinational telecommunications corporation Orange S.A. took the top spot while Energy titan Total came in at number two and multinational insurance firm AXA rounds out the top three. 

The industry-wide drop in fiscal performance did not prevent these luxury titans from losing top-ten spots on Brand Finance’s newly-released “France 500″ report, which asserts that that “Luxury and Premium brands have shown a rebound, particularly in light of the dynamic recovery in Asia and improving trends in the United States and in Japan, which should confirm [a return to] double-digit growth in the future.” On an individual basis, the London-based brand valuation consultancy states that Louis Vuitton “recorded a 15 percent drop in its brand value” – a metric that Brand Finance defines as “the value of the “names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs” that a company uses to identify and distinguish its “goods, services or entities” from those of others, thereby creating “distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, and generating economic benefits” for the company as a result.” As a result, the brand value of LVMH’s cash-cow amounted to a diminished 12.64 billion euros.

At the same time, Louis Vuitton also lost footing on Brand Finance’s “Brand Strength” ranking – which considers a company’s “marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance” – falling from an “AAA rating last year to AAA- (score of 84) due to the decline in its performance and financial outlook in 2020.” 

Vuitton’s closest rival by revenue in the industry, Chanel, also saw a decline in brand value, as well – down 9 percent, according to the 2021 report, but nonetheless, rose 2 places in the ranking to fifth place, making it “among the most valued French brands at 11.27 billion euros [in brand value].” A bright spot for Chanel? An increase in its Brand Strength, which Brand Finance says enables Chanel to withstand unfavorable market conditions “more favorably than its peers,” such as Cartier, for example, “whose diminished revenue outlook during the pandemic caused its brand value to drop by 24 percent.” 

Finally, while Hermès took the number 8 position in terms of brand value (down one spot compared to the 2020 list because “a weakened financial outlook” due to the pandemic prompted a drop in its brand value of 8 percent, to 9.92 billion euros), Brand Finance found that it is still “the strongest brand in the top 10 most valuable French brands, with a Brand Strength Index score of 85 out of 100 (AAA rating).” Hermès took the number two spot on the overall “Brand Strength” ranking, which the report says is “a reflection of its authenticity” and of “the demand for quality and excellence, as embodied in its newly-launched beauty venture.”  

Outside of the top 10, Brand Finance highlighted Moncler, which “despite declining sales in Europe, saw its business grow by 8 percent in 2021, supported by 26 percent growth in Asia and online sales reaching 15 percent of its business.” Its first year on the France 500 list, Moncler took the number 47 spot, and quite remarkably, had the greatest Brand Strength Index score of any of the listed companies – 87.4, which translates to an AAA rating. The Remo Ruffini-run brand has a combination of “creativity, innovation and respect for heritage,” as well as its offering of “high-performance” products to thank for its “continued success around the world” and “strong brand image” in the eyes of customers,” according to Brand Finance. 

The consultancy also specifically highlighted LVMH-owned brands Celine (in the 71 spot up from 112) and Kenzo (in the 96 spot this year, up from 124), which are among the brands “that have experienced the strongest growth in value within the ranking this year.” Celine’s brand value grew by a whopping 105 percent, and Kenzo was up by 63 percent. Elsewhere on the list, Dior came in at number 19 (from 20 in 2020), Yves Saint Laurent (49 from 45 in 2020), Givenchy (45, the same spot as last year).