For the fourth consecutive year, Amazon has been crowned the brand loyalty leader in the US. This is according to Brand Key’s latest annual loyalty study [pdf], which ranked customer engagement and loyalty to 1,121 brands across 109 categories.
Rounding out the top five were:
- Netflix, up four spots to #2, for Video Streaming;
- Amazon again, up four spots to #3, for Video Streaming;
- Apple, up four spots to #4, for Smartphones; and
- Domino’s, up ten spots to #5, for Pizza.
These brands were among the most likely to meet customer expectations for their respective categories.
Amazon appeared on the top-10 list twice this year: for its performance in the Online Retail (#1 overall) and Video Streaming (#3 overall) categories. Although last year its performance in the Tablets category was at #4 overall, it dropped ten spots to #14 across categories this year for its performance in that category.
Apple also suffered in the Tablets category this year. While its performance in the Smartphones category improved over last year (up from #8 to #3 overall), its performance in Tablets dropped from the #5 overall ranking across brands and categories in 2019 to #15 this year. Despite this, Apple remains one of the top-three most loved brands on social media across the globe, as well as ranking #3 among the most ‘intimate’ brands in the US.
Brands are able to appear in Brand Keys’ loyalty leaders list more than once as they are measured against the loyalty “ideal” for each category in which they are present. This generates a percentage for each brand in each category, and the loyalty leader rankings are then formed by comparing the top percentages across all brands and categories.
Two social networking brands made it into the top-20 this year. Instagram climbed 11 spots over 2019 to take the #11 spot, while YouTube catapulted from #35 last year to #17 this year.
During the COVID-19 pandemic consumers have been spending more time viewing streaming video, and it appears this has boosted loyalty to these brands. Four video streaming services made it into the top-20 this year, with Netflix (up from #6 to #2 overall), Amazon (up from #7 to #3) and newcomer Disney (#7) occupying spots within the top-10. At #19, Hulu scaled 13 spots to breach the top-20.
Eight of the top 10 customer loyalty leaders this year are digital brands. Domino’s (#5), which leads the Pizza category, and Home Depot (#8), which leads the Home Improvement Retail category, are the exceptions. Home Depot’s 19-spot climb is possibly linked to the surge in home improvement purchases during the pandemic, especially considering its standing as one of the top-5 e-commerce retailers in the US.
Among the brands that saw a surge in loyalty this year are Smirnoff (+26 to #50), Dollar Tree (+20 to #80), GEICO (+19 to#59), YouTube (+18 to #17), Jack Daniels (+16 to #57), Whole Foods (+16 to #23), Ketel One (+16 to #70) and Chobani (+15 to #71).
It’s also worth noting that there are some notable absences from the list this year. McDonald’s, Expedia, Under Armour, LinkedIn and Delta were among 18 brands that are typically on the top-100 list that did not appear on the list in 2020. Brand Keys also points out that categories such as apparel retailers, automotive, fast-casual restaurants, B2B products and services, and all travel-related categories (e.g. car rentals, airlines, automotive, online travel sites) were also conspicuously absent from the list.
The full top-100 list is available here [pdf].
About the Data: Brand Keys’ Loyalty Leaders analysis was conducted in August and September 2020 and includes assessments from 52,515 consumers, 16 to 65 years of age, from the nine US Census Regions, who self-selected the categories in which they are consumers and the brands for which they are customers. The 2020 Loyalty Leader assessments examined 109 categories and 1,121 brands.