Luxury brands have never been more popular. Despite the current climate of uncertainty, people seem willing to spend money on high-end luxury goods. Whether that’s the latest Gucci collection or automobile from Rolls Royce, consumers want luxury brand name products. It’s plain to see the luxury sector continues to thrive.
In a society dominated by social media and image, it makes sense people want to look good. As Investopedia explains, “for some consumers, a luxury good can go a long way in increasing self-esteem or providing a sense of belonging.” It fosters “a sense of accomplishment,” with luxury brands often seen as better quality. Owning a designer item strikes a balance between status and authenticity.
So what are the most popular luxury brands? ? ? ? While this is up for debate, Brand Directory, which calculates and evaluates the earnings of the biggest brands in the world, has a good idea. Every year they release their list of the best luxury companies based on how much money they make and each company’s monetary valuation. Taking their research into account, here are the 10 most popular brands in the world.
1. Porsche – $34.3 Billion
The German automobile brand reigns supreme at the top of the charts. Despite the challenges of the past couple of years, Porsche has managed to thrive and continue its dominance as one of the world’s top luxury brands. The brand value is an astonishing $34.3 million.
First established in 1931 in Stuttgart, Germany, Porsche quickly became a leader in the automotive field. It’s also one of the biggest global brands thanks to its luxury branding strategy. The company’s 911 model is perhaps its most famous vehicle and dominated the market during the 80s and 90s. Notable for its luxury sports cars, Porsche now offers SUVs, sedans, and electric cars. The Porsche Taycan (electric car) has become a particularly big hit with those looking for a luxurious car that’s also environmentally friendly.
2. Gucci – $15.5 Billion
The epitome of luxury fashion, Gucci remains the world’s top fashion brand and second-biggest luxury brand in the world. There is a sizable gap between Porsche and Gucci, and this has been widened over the past year. A 22.7% drop in sales has seen the Italian fashion house’s valuation dip from $17.6 billion in 2020 to $15.5 billion in 2021. It’s fair to say the pandemic hit the company hard. While having luxury clothes is great, if you can’t wear them out and impress people there isn’t much point.
Despite this blip, the company created by Guccio Gucci looks set to rebound this year as one of the biggest luxury brands. Although facing competition from the likes of Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein, Bottega Veneta, Tom Ford, and other popular fashion designers, Gucci is putting its best foot forward. The brand’s latest collection is a collaboration with adidas, while The North Face x Gucci selection of garments and accessories has been a big seller.
3. Louis Vuitton – $14.8 Billion
Similar to great rival Gucci, Louis Vuitton also took a hit over the past 12 months. The high-end French retailer did manage to keep its grip on the third spot of the world’s best luxury brands, despite a slip in its overall valuation. The brand itself comes under the Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) conglomeration, which was a merger between the two companies in 1987. The resources afforded to both companies allowed them to flourish and cement their status as leading luxury brands.
With over 460 stores worldwide in 50 different countries, it is fair to say Louis Vuitton has a stranglehold on the luxury brand market. Its brand management is unheralded and its advertising campaigns are some of the most efficient. Known originally for its famous trunks and luggage accessories, the brand now dabbles in clothing, shoes, watches, sunglasses, and more.
Trivia fact: Louis Vuitton made much of its early fortune via deals with the Nazis during World War II.
4. Chanel – $13.2 Billion
Chanel actually managed to jump up a spot, rising from fifth to fourth in 2021. Its brand value is now worth an estimated $13.2 billion. Another French fashion house, the company was founded in 1910 by Coco Chanel. Its focus was women’s clothing and accessories, but over the years this has diversified to men’s clothing, jewelry, and other luxury goods. The brand really came to the fore in the 80s when Karl Lagerfeld took over as creative designer. The German merged the past with the future to bring Chanel into the 21st century. He held the position until his death in 2019 at the age of 85.
Along with clothing, Chanel is popular thanks to Chanel No. 5. The fragrance was created in 1921 and remains a key to the success of Chanel. Many of the ad campaigns for the fragrance have featured famous celebrities, such as Nicole Kidman and Marilyn Monroe, with French actress Marion Cotillard the current face of the perfume.
5. Cartier – $12 Billion
The third French brand on this list is also one of the oldest, forming in 1847. It is regarded as one of the world’s top jewelry manufacturers and has a long history with royalty. Throughout the company’s 175 year history it has crafted jewels for the British, Spanish, Portuguese, Serbian, and Russian monarchs. Along with its jewelry, Cartier is also known for its watches. The first was released in 1903 and was created for pilots. Since then there have been dozens of different iterations of that first watch, with Cartier timepieces oozing sophistication and prestige.
6. Hermès – $11.6 Billion
This iconic French luxury brand had another great year, cementing its spot in the top 10 with a valuation of $11.6 billion. Beginning life selling high-quality leather saddles in 1837, it wasn’t until 1922 that Hermès branched out into the world of fashion, slinging its very first leather handbags. These became extremely popular and the brains behind the brand realized there was another market for them to capitalize on. The Hermès carrés (square scarves) became a hit in 1937 and was soon a part of French culture. It was also during the 30s when Hermès got into business with Swiss watchmaker Universal Genève and released its first timepiece. It has 14 product departments and continues to dominate the luxury brands market from New York to London and everywhere in between.
7. Ferrari – $9.2 Billion
Ferrari is the only other car manufacturer to crack the top 10, although that shouldn’t be a surprise. The brand is one of the most recognized car brands in the world. From its famous prancing horse logo to its involvement in the Formula One, Ferrari has been a mainstay in car culture for over 80 years.
While it pales in comparison to Porsche, the market for the two companies is slightly different. While Porsche has entered the hybrid era and is creating luxury cars for families, Ferrari retains its heritage as a brand for pure motor enthusiasts. Its cars are often much more expensive than other brands, helping Ferrari’s image as a luxury brand. There are five main models of Ferrari available, with special and limited editions always being built for diehard fans.
8. Rolex – $7.9 Billion
The only watchmaker on the list is also one of the most recognized. Rolex has been responsible for some of the most spectacular watches ever crafted over its 117-year history. It is the definition of a popular luxury brand. Although founded in England, the brand now resides in Switzerland. It is responsible for several breakthroughs in watch construction over the years. Interestingly, Rolex watches were worn by many pilots during World War II and featured in the famous war film The Great Escape.
There are three main watch lines–Oyster Perpetual, Professional, and Cellini (dress)–with each having a number of different models. Rolex watches have become so popular that there is a whole industry built on fake Rolex’s. Many people don’t even realize they have purchased a fake, so it is always best when buying a Rolex to do so from an accredited dealership.
9. Dior – $7.8 Billion
Dior is incredibly valued at a higher price than last year. In 2020 it was worth $6.8 billion, while in 2021 this rose to $7.8 billion. Another French luxury fashion house, Dior’s main focus is clothing and shoes, although they also sell a wide range of other luxury goods. The company’s first collection was launched in 1947 and had a huge impact on the fashion world. The ‘New Look,’ as it is known, revolutionized women’s clothing and put an emphasis on feminity, haute couture, and fashion-forward garments. While not everybody is a fan, Coco Chanel reportedly remarked, “Only a man who never was intimate with a woman could design something that uncomfortable,” there is no doubting the impact ‘New Look’ and Dior has had on the fashion industry.
10. Guerlain – $5.6 Billion
One of the big movers, Guerlain pole-vaulted past Coach, Estée Lauder, and Tiffany & Co. to sneak into the top 10. It is one of the lesser-known luxury brands despite its high valuation in the luxury segment. The French perfumery was owned and run by the Guerlain family until it was purchased by LVMH in 1994. Brand manager Jean-Paul Guerlain, the last family perfumer, stayed on with the company until he was fired for making racist remarks in 2010.
The company has created over 600 fragrances across its 192-year history in the luxury market for both men and women. Along with its perfumes, Guerlain also has a large range of cosmetic and skincare products. Many models and actresses have been part of advertising campaigns for the brand over the years, with Angelina Jolie the current face of Guerlain.