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Netflix is the UK's most improved brand

After a year of restrictions and lockdowns, according to rankings from YouGov:

  • Netflix tops most improved brands and places second for brand health after coronavirus keeps Britons indoors
  • John Lewis remains Britain’s best brand for the fourth year running despite economic woes
  • Ikea falls from second place in 2019 to seventh place despite an improving score
  • Google takes the top spot for best brand globally alongside tech giants WhatsApp, YouTube, Samsung and Amazon

John Lewis is top

John Lewis tops YouGov’s 2020 Best Brand Rankings in the UK for the fourth year running in the UK, despite this year’s global pandemic and consequent lockdowns and economic downturns. The retailer scored 42.6, this is 1.4 points higher than in 2019.

The rankings were based on the Index score from YouGov BrandIndex, which is a measure of overall brand health calculated by taking the average of Impression, Quality, Value, Satisfaction, Recommend and Reputation.

Best Brands 2020 in the UK

Rank Brand name Score
1 John Lewis 42.6
2 Netflix 42.2
3 Visa 41.8
4 Marks & Spencer 41.8
5 Cadbury 41.4
6 Royal Mail 41.2
7 IKEA 41.1
8 Boots 38.4
9 Cathedral City 37.8
10 Samsung 37.7

In second place is Netflix with a score of 42.2, which has undoubtedly benefitted from a captive audience this year during the coronavirus lockdown and ‘stay at home’ order. This is the first time Netflix has ranked in the UK top ten, although the streaming service has placed before in the global rankings.

Visa takes third place with a score of 41.8, rising from fifth place in 2019 with a score increase of 3.5, while Marks and Spencer drops from third place to fourth (41.8) despite increasing its score by 2.9 points.

Cadbury, which was the fourth most improved brand in 2019, has increased in brand health enough to take fifth place (41.4) after a successful advert campaigns encouraging kindness after lockdown. Sixth place is taken by Royal Mail (41.2), which has increased from seventh place last year.

The Swedish retailer IKEA has seen the most dramatic change in its ranking, falling from second place in 2019 to seventh place in 2020. This appears to be because other brands have significantly improved rather than IKEA’s own failings, as IKEA’s own score increased by 2.2 points to 41.1.

Eighth, ninth and tenth place are again held by Boots (38.3), Cathedral City (37.8) and Samsung (37.7) as they were in 2019. Boots and Samsung both improved their scores by 2.8 points while Cathedral City’s score grew by 2.4 points.

The rankings also show the brands which have improved the most, with Netflix taking the top spot after improving 7.1 points. The National Lottery just missed out on the top spot with an improvement of 7.0 points.

Best Brands 2020 in the UK - Improvers

Brand name Score Previous score Change in score
Netflix 42.2 35.1 7.1
National Lottery 8.1 1.2 7.0
Amazon Prime Video 21.8 15.2 6.6
Ryanair -24.8 -31.0 6.1
Cadbury 41.4 35.4 6.0
Gregs 23.7 18.3 5.5
WhatsApp 31.4 26.1 5.3
Lotus Biscoff 18.3 13.3 5.1
Coca-Cola 13.1 8.1 5.0
Pret A Manger 13.1 8.5 4.8

Third place and seventh place go to tech brands Amazon Prime Video (+6.6) and WhatsApp (+5.3). WhatsApp placed second globally for the best brands in a year where the top brands were dominated by technology.

Ryanair placed fourth with an improvement of 6.1: Ryanair’s score in 2019 was -31.0 so whilst the airline has improved greatly, scores are still low and will probably remain low this year as customers struggle to get refunds for flights cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.

The rest of the most improved brands are made up of FMCG brands such as fifth-placed Cadbury (+6.0), eighth-placed Lotus Biscoff (+5.1) and ninth-placed Coca-Cola (+5.0), and quick-service retailers Greggs in sixth place (+5.5) and Pret A Manger in tenth place (+4.8). It’s likely that Greggs and Pret A Manger will see declines in their scores next year as a result of second lockdowns

Commenting on the research, Amelia Brophy, Head of Account Management UK at YouGov, says:

“YouGov’s 2020 Best Brand Rankings place John Lewis in first place, despite the global coronavirus pandemic, lockdown and subsequent global economic downturn. While the retailer has undoubtedly faced financial hardships such as closing stores and scrapping staff bonuses for the first time in more than 60 years, the rankings show the power of a strong brand.

“Whilst others may have struggled with the changing fortunes of 2020, one brand which has benefited from consumers forced to stay at home is Netflix. The streaming giant has released a stream of exclusive programmes and films throughout lockdown, earning itself second place in our UK rankings, the most improved brand in the UK and the sixth best brand in the world. Undoubtedly the coronavirus crisis has created a changing consumer market that will require brands to listen to consumer needs and wants and change accordingly – Netflix has achieved this and has subsequently significantly improved its standing from our 2019 rankings.”


The rankings are drawn from interviews conducted between October 2019 and September 2020. Each day consumers are asked their view on 1,504 brands in the UK, which allows YouGov to build a picture of how different brands are perceived by the general public through comparing Index scores – which is a measure of overall brand health calculated by taking the average of Impression, Quality, Value, Satisfaction, Recommend and Reputation.

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