Harley-Davidson, MAC Cosmetics, Saks Department Stores and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Show Gains and Capture Brand of the Year Distinction in their Respective Categories
NEW YORK — As Americans continue to receive conflicting messages about the state of the economy and a potential upcoming recession, findings from the 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend® (EQ) study show many luxury brands made gains in brand equity over the past year. More than 1,500 brands were assessed across over 155 categories this year, and high end companies – from auto makers to department stores – fared better than in years past in ratings based on the Harris Poll EquiTrend Brand Equity Index, which is comprised of three key factors: Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration.
Findings from the 25th annual study show that high end automotive companies in particular received higher Brand Equity rankings than in prior years. While Mercedes-Benz took the top spot among Luxury Automotive brands for the third year in a row, five other luxury auto brands – Acura, Audi, BMW, Infiniti and Land Rover – received their highest scores ever in the study, suggesting a strong recovery in the industry at large, particularly in the high end category. Harley-Davidson Motorcycles also reached its highest score in the study’s history, at the same time regaining the top spot as the 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend Motorcycle Brand of the Year.
“There’s been a lot of discussion in the media as to whether 2013 will bring about another recession, so it’s interesting to see equity is on the rise for luxury brands typically associated with higher discretionary income, even as other economic indicators suggest a possible downturn,” said Aron Galonsky, Senior Vice President, Brand and Communication Consulting at Harris Interactive. “This may show that after a number of years spent tightening their belts, consumers are looking to the quality and value they feel these brands provide.”
An increase in brand affinity – and potentially related sales – among higher end brands is in-line with findings from a recent Harris Poll that showed a decrease over the past few years in the number of Americans who plan to save more in the year ahead and cut back on household spending, suggesting the appeal of luxury items stayed strong even while such purchases were deferred in tough economic circumstances.
Other luxury lifestyle brands, including Saks Department Stores and MAC Cosmetics, saw increases in their scores from 2012 – and are both top ranked in their respective categories. Both brands had gains of almost 10 points (8.9 and 9.3, respectively) from the year prior. And while Starwood Hotels & Resorts topped the luxury hotel chain category, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts hit its highest score yet in that category, rising more than 13 points from its lowest score back in 2008.
“Understanding the health of your brand is a critical component in determining the business priorities for companies in any industry,” continued Galonsky. “The higher scores point to increased consumer affinity and likelihood to purchase from these companies.”
A sample of 38,814 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over were surveyed online by Harris Interactive from January 11 through February 8, 2013 and the survey took an average of 35 minutes to complete. The sample was from the Harris Interactive online panel of respondents, a database consisting of over a million cooperative respondents who have double-opted in to be randomly invited by Harris Interactive to take part in online surveys. The total number of brands rated was 1,511. Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 40 randomly selected brands. Each brand received approximately 1,000 ratings. Data were weighted to be representative of the entire U.S. population of consumers ages 15 and over based on age by sex, education, race/ethnicity, region, income, and data from respondents ages 18 and over were also weighted for their propensity to be online. This is the same precision weighting approach Harris has used to become the leading online polling organization when calling elections.
The Brand Equity Index is the keystone to the EquiTrend program providing an understanding of a brand’s overall strength. A brand’s Equity is determined by a calculation of Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration. Brand of the Year is determined by a simple ranking of brands.
An academic study recognized the Harris Poll EquiTrend® Brand Equity model as a proven predictor of stock performance during the 2008 financial downturn, and thus was validated as a new tool to help investors and analysts hedge market investments. The results of the academic study findings appear in the September 2012 issue of the International Journal of Research in Marketing in the paper titled, “The Performance of Global Brands in the 2008 Financial Crisis: A Test of Two Brand Value Measures.” The paper was authored by Johny K. Johansson, Claudiu V. Dimofte and Sanal K. Mazvancheryl.
The Harris Poll EquiTrend® study results disclosed in this release may not be used for advertising, marketing or promotional purposes without the prior written consent of Harris Interactive.
Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
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