Coca-Cola is world's biggest brand, Unilever strongest manufacturer

Coca-Cola, Colgate and Maggi remain the biggest consumer brands in the world. It is becoming increasingly difficult for FMCG brands to grow: the key is to focus on penetration and not to forget older consumers.


Unilever dominates

Every year, researchers from Kantar Worldpanel release their list of the fifty most popular brands in the world. For the seventh edition of their Brand Footprint Report, they analysed over 21,400 brands and a billion households in 49 countries across all continents, between November 2017 and November 2018. They researched how much of each brand is bought across the world, and how often. There are not that many surprises in the top of the list: Coca-Cola, Colgate and Maggi fill in the top three spots, just like they didlast year. The five strongest growers of the past year were Vim, Kinder, Brooke Bond, Dettol and Doritos.


Unilever is the best-performing manufacturer in the ranking, represented by as many as seventeen brands. Six of them were bought more than a billion times in 2018: Lifebuoy, Sunsilk, Knorr, Dove, Lux and Sunlight.


The importance of the over-fifty age group

Growth is still a major challenge for FMCG brands: consumption has decreased by 2.1 % and 54 % of the researched brands were performing worse than the year before. 84 % of the brands in the top-50 were already in there five years ago, but only four brands managed to grow each and every year: Dettol, Dove, Nivea and Vim. Remarkably, all four of those are brands that have existed for over a century, so they are not exactly 'digital natives'.


Retailers and brands all need to construct a strong online presence. However, an equally important insight is the realisation that the over-fifty age group matters more to FMCG brands than millennials and generation Z combined. Another trend is the blurring between various channels, more precisely between retail and out-of-home. And a new world is on the rise: ten brands from India and China would easily make the top-25 if they took up worldwide expansion, according to Kantar.


The key to growth is still penetration: reaching more shoppers, being present in more markets and categories and targeting new needs and consumption occasions. 


The top ten brands of the world according to Kantar Worldpanel

 Rank  Brand  Manufacturer
 1  Coca-Cola  The Coca-Cola Company
 2  Colgate  Colgate-Palmolive
 3  Maggi  Nestlé
 4  Lifebuoy  Unilever
 5  Lay's  PepsiCo
 6  Pepsi  PepsiCo
 7  Nescafé  Nestlé
 8  Dove  Unilever
 9  Sunsilk  Unilever
 10  Indomie  Indofood