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Digital innovators Netflix, Instagram and Spotify emerge to challenge Apple’s CoolBrands crown


By Seb Joseph | News editor

September 28, 2015 | 4 min read

Apple may be the king of the CoolBrands for the fourth year running but the growing popularity of Netflix, Instagram and Spotify suggests it may find it tougher to retain in the coming years.

The lukewarm reception from critics and fans to this year’s Apple Watch and Apple Music has not been enough to dent its cool factor. Buzz around its Apple TV service and upcoming products like the iPhone 6S was enough to secure its place at the top of the annual survey.

However, rivals for the CoolBrands crown are emerging. Netflix and Instagram, which both broke into the top 20 list year, continued to rise up the rankings, moving from tenth to fifth and fourteenth to seventh respectively. It’s reflective of a strong 12 months for both digital brands, with Netflix continuing to add subscribers and move into new markets, while Instagram recently smashed the 400 million user mark.

Spotify has also experienced a good 2015 to date, re-entering the rankings at eleventh. This rise of the subscription economy and the fast-coming ubiquity of the connected home’ saw wireless audio business Sonos break into the top 20 for the first time, while Bose and Sony have both crashed out.

Luxury brands, long the dominant category of the CoolBrands survey, appear to be the biggest casualty of the rise of these digital-first, disruptive services. Dom Perignon, Rolex and Stella McCartnery all fell out of the top 20 this year.

In total 14 brands retained their Top 20 status from last year, highlighting the difficulty newer rivals face in toppling the current elite, according to CoolBrands.

Stephen Cheliotis, chairman of the CoolBrands Council said “Attaining Top 20 CoolBrands status takes time and isn’t the result of a one year fad or flash in the pan. Young brands however, like Netflix and Instagram, are showing clear momentum. They are moving up the Top 20 at a decent pace and posing a threat to establishedsector peers, suggesting they’ll challenge the leading brand overall. How long Apple hangs on to pole is hard to predict, but as the initial excitement around new products dies down, evaluation on how pioneering these are could be telling.”

The results come from a poll of 2,500 British consumers and a panel of 36 key infleuncers such as musicians Ella Eyre and Labrinth, SB.TV founder Jamal Edwards, British Fashion Council Chief Executive, Caroline Rush, and leading Editors from publications such as Tech Radar, Elle Decoration and In-Style.

The official 2015/16 CoolBrands Top 20 is:

  1. Apple
  2. Ray-Ban
  3. Glastonbury
  4. Nike
  5. Netflix
  6. Alexander McQueen
  7. Instagram
  8. Chanel
  9. YouTube
  10. Aston Martin
  11. Spotify
  12. Google
  13. Royal Albert Hall
  14. Sonos
  15. Whole Foods Market
  16. Bang & Olufsen
  17. Ace Hotel
  18. Adidas
  19. Virgin Atlantic
  20. Liberty
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