Americans' Perceptions of Luxury Brands Rising Despite Flagging Economy, Finds 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study 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, March 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- 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.

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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."

2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend Brands of the Year

Primary Category

Award Category

Award Brand


Full Service Airline

Alaska/Horizon Airlines


Value Airline

Southwest Airlines

Apparel/Accessories - Clothing

Sporting Apparel

Under Armour Apparel

Apparel/Accessories - Footwear

Running Shoe

Merrell Running Shoes


Coffee Maker

Keurig Coffee Maker


Major Appliance

Kenmore Major Appliances


Small Kitchen Appliance

Crock-Pot Small Appliances


Car Rental

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Automotive Manufacturers

Full Line Automotive

Toyota Vehicles

Automotive Manufacturers

Luxury Automotive

Mercedes-Benz Vehicles

Automotive Manufacturers


Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

Automotive Manufacturers

Recreation Vehicle

Jayco Recreational Vehicles

Automotive Service Centers

Auto Service Center

Discount Tires

Automotive Supplier

Car Audio

Bose In-Vehicle Audio

Automotive Supplier

Motor Oil

Valvoline Motor Oil

Automotive Supplier


Michelin Tires

Beverages - Beer


Yuengling Traditional Lager

Beverages - Beer

Light Beer

Sam Adams Light

Beverages - Coffee


Folgers Ground Coffee

Beverages - Energy Drink

Energy Drink

Full Throttle Energy Drink

Beverages - Fruit Drink

Fruit Flavored Drink

5 Alive Juice

Beverages - Fruit Drink

Fruit Juice

Ocean Spray Juices

Beverages - Soft Drink

Diet Soft Drink

Sprite Zero

Beverages - Soft Drink

Soft Drink


Beverages - Tea

Bottled Iced Tea

AriZona Bottled Tea

Beverages - Tea

Hot Tea

Lipton Teas

Beverages - Water

Bottled Water

Deer Park Bottled Water


Las Vegas Casino

Bellagio Casino, Las Vegas

Computer-Related Products


Apple Computers

Computer-Related Products


HP Printing & Imaging

Computer-Related Products

Tablet Computer

Apple iPad Series (Tablet)

Cruise Line

Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line


Consumer Electronics

Sony Home Electronics


Digital Camera

Canon Digital Camera


GPS Navigation System

Garmin Navigation System


Gaming Console

Microsoft Xbox 360


Video Streaming App


Financial Services - Bank

National Bank


Financial Services - Bank

Super Regional Bank

Ally Bank

Financial Services - Insurance


USAA Financial Services

Financial Services - Investment


Fidelity Investments Financial Services

Financial Services - Payment Card

Payment Network


Primary Category

Award Category

Award Brand



Oreo Cookies


Energy Bar

Clif Energy Bars



Yoplait Yogurt

Foods - Candy

Chocolate Candy

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Chocolate Candy

Foods - Candy


Extra Gum

Foods - Candy

Non-Chocolate Candy

Life Savers Candy

Foods - Candy

Premium Chocolate

Ghirardelli Chocolate

Foods - Snacks


Orville Redenbacher's Popcorn

Foods - Snacks

Salty Snack

Lay's Chips

Greeting Card

Greeting Card

Hallmark Greeting Cards

Health and Beauty Products - Cosmetics

Mass-Market Cosmetics

Neutrogena Cosmetics

Health and Beauty Products - Cosmetics

Prestige Cosmetics

M∙A∙C Cosmetics

Health and Beauty Products - Other

Sun Screen

Neutrogena Suncare

Health Care

Health Insurance

Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Health Care

Weight-Loss Plan

Weight Watchers


Economy Hotel

America's Best Value Inn


Extended Stay Hotel

MainStay Suites


Full Service Hotel

Hilton Hotels & Resorts


Luxury Hotel

Starwood Hotels & Resorts


Mid-Market Hotel

Holiday Inn Express Hotels & Resorts

Household Products Other


Moen Faucets

Household Products Other

Gas Grill

Weber Gas Grills

Household Products Other

Household Cleaner

Lysol All Purpose Cleaner

Household Products Other

Kitchen Cabinetry

KraftMaid Cabinets

Household Products Other

Lawn Mower

John Deere Lawn Mowers

Household Products Other


Tempur-Pedic Mattress

Household Products Other



Household Products Other

Power Tool

Craftsman Tools

Household Products Other

Vacuum Cleaner

Dyson Vacuum

Household Products Other

Window Covering

Hunter Douglas Blinds & Shades


Business Magazine

Forbes Magazine


General Interest Magazine

Consumer Reports


Weekly News Magazine

The Economist Magazine


Women's Magazine

Real Simple Magazine

News service

News Service

Google News

Non-Profit Corporations

Animal Welfare Non-Profit

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)

Non-Profit Corporations

Disability Non-Profit

Wounded Warrior Project

Non-Profit Corporations

Environmental Non-Profit

Nature Conservancy

Non-Profit Corporations

Health Non-Profit

American Heart Association

Non-Profit Corporations

International Aid Non-Profit

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)

Non-Profit Corporations

Social Services Non-Profit

American Red Cross

Non-Profit Corporations

Youth Non-Profit

Girl Scouts of the USA

Primary Category

Award Category

Award Brand

Online Organizations



Online Organizations

Health Information Website


Online Organizations

Online Auto Shopping

Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com)

Online Organizations

Online Computer Retailer


Online Organizations

Online Deal


Online Organizations

Online Department Store


Online Organizations

Online Job Search


Online Organizations

Online Mass Merchandiser


Online Organizations

Online Office Supply Retailer


Online Organizations

Online Travel Service


Over-the-Counter Products

OTC Cold / Allergy

Vicks Cold and Flu Products (DayQuil/NyQuil)

Over-the-Counter Products

OTC Digestive Aid


Over-the-Counter Products

OTC Fiber Supplement


Over-the-Counter Products

OTC Laxative


Over-the-Counter Products

OTC Pain Relief

Tylenol Pain Relievers

Over-the-Counter Products

OTC Sleep Aid

Tylenol PM

Pet Food

Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Cat Food

Pet Food

Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Dog Food


Amusement Attraction

Disney Theme Parks


Casual Dining Restaurant

Panera Bread


Coffee & Quick Service Restaurant

Dunkin' Donuts Stores


Fast Casual Mexican Restaurant

Chipotle Mexican Grill


Italian Dining Restaurant

Olive Garden Italian Restaurants


Pizza Chain

Pizza Hut


Quick Service Restaurant


Retail Gasoline


Costco Gasoline

Retail Store

Convenience Store

QuikTrip Convenience Store

Retail Store

Department Store

Kohl's Department Store

Retail Store

Hardware & Home Store

The Home Depot

Retail Store

Luxury Department Store

Saks Department Store

Retail Store

Mass Merchandiser

Target Stores

Retail Store

Office Supply Store

Staples Stores

Retail Store

Off-Price Retailer

Marshalls Stores

Retail Store


Walgreens Pharmacy

Retail Store

Sporting Goods Store


Retail Store

Value Store

Dollar Tree

Retail Store

Warehouse Club



Sports League

NFL (National Football League)


Mobile Network

Verizon Mobile Network


Mobile Phone

Apple iPhone


Pre-Paid Mobile Carrier

Verizon Wireless (no contract wireless phone)

Primary Category

Award Category

Award Brand


Factual Entertainment TV

History Channel


General Entertainment TV

A&E Television Network


Kids' TV

Boomerang Television Network


Music TV

CMT Network (Country Music Television)


Pay Cable TV Network

HBO Television Network


Sports TV

ESPN Television Network


TV Network

PBS Television Network (Public Broadcasting Service)


TV News

The Weather Channel

Harris Poll EquiTrend® Methodology

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.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients—stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com

Press Contact:
Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive

SOURCE Harris Interactive


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