Google has taken over as this year’s brand loyalty leader, rising 5 spots from last year’s results to take the mantle from Netflix, which fell to 4th. That’s according to the latest annual loyalty study [pdf] from Brand Keys, which ranked customer engagement and loyalty for 635 brands across 72 categories.
Rounding out the top 5 were:
- Amazon, improving 6 spots to #2, for online retail;
- Apple, up a spot to #3, for tablets; and
- Facebook, staying pat at #5, for social networking.
These five brands were among the ones most likely to meet consumer expectations for their respective categories.
Amazon’s performance was particularly impressive this year: it appeared in the top 10 list three times: for online retail (#4), tablets (#7) and for video streaming (#9). Apple also made the list multiple times, coming in 3rd for its position in the tablet category and 6th for smartphone customer loyalty.
Brands are able to appear in the 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.
Of the top 20 customer loyalty leaders, 16 (or 80%) are digital brands this year. Digital and social networking brands accounted for 35 of the top 100, about twice the number of the next-most heavily represented category, retail (17).
There were 9 brands new to the top 100 this year, including 4 digital brands: Airbnb (#52); Line (#72); theSkimm (#76) and BuzzFeed (#95). All of the hotel brands that appeared on last year’s list fell out of the rankings this year: Ritz-Carlton; W Hotels; Hyatt; and Hilton.
The biggest ranking improvements were experienced by Starbuck’s (+22 spots to #18) and Ralph Lauren (+19 positions to #24), while the largest drops were suffered by Chipotle (-45 spots to #68) and Estee Lauder (-34 spots to #87). Samsung dropped 3 positions to #14 for smartphones – though it will be interesting to see where it ends up in next year’s analysis…
About the Data: Brand Keys Loyalty Leaders analysis was conducted in September 2016 and includes assessments from 42,792 consumers, 18 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. Seventy-five percent (75%) were interviewed by phone, 20% via face-to-face interviews (to account for cell phone-only consumers), and remaining consumers assessed categories and brands online. The 2016 Loyalty Leader assessments examined 72 categories and 635 brands.