Apple drops to number two on Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking

Davis Brand Capital, a market intelligence and customer insight firm, has released the eighth annual Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, a global study of overall brand performance evaluating companies' abilities to successfully manage brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact. Apple dropped from the top spot to the runner-up spot.

The 2016 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranked companies again beat all public market indexes. A hypothetical stock portfolio of Davis Brand Capital 25 companies would have returned 17.4% in 2016, beating the Dow by 2.2 percentage points, the S&P 500 by 6.2 percentage points and the NASDAQ by 7.6 percentage points.

After five years atop the list, Apple (#2) lost its number one spot to Alphabet (#1), due in part to Google's increasing dominance and Apple's "slowing sales," according to Brand Davis (though, based on Apple's latest financials, that seems a bit dubious to me). Microsoft (#3), IBM (#4) and General Electric Company (#5) round out this year's top five.

Technology, specifically artificial intelligence (AI), spread across multiple industries. Automotive brands, including Toyota Motor Corporation (#6) and Ford Motor Company (#15), made strides in autonomous vehicle programs. Alphabet's Google Home and Amazon's (#10) Echo brought accessible AI into consumers' daily lives, while Citigroup (#24) explored machine-learning algorithms in banking.

Industry rivals had a decisive shakeout on the 2016 list. Daimler AG (#7) beat its Bavarian rival, BMW AG (#12), largely due to the Mercedes-Benz nameplate. The Coca-Cola Company (#13) outperformed PepsiCo (#16), settling the 2016 cola wars.

The retail landscape shifted in 2016, with LVMH and Walmart falling off the list entirely, and CVS Health (#22) making its debut. The Procter & Gamble Company (#8), Johnson & Johnson (#14) and Nestlé S.A. (#19) all secured positions on 2016's list, signaling a strong consumer mainstream.