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This Britain

Technology giant remains the Apple of Britain’s eye: CoolBrands survey shows luxury brands back at the top


The recent images of people queuing around the block to get their hands on the latest incarnation of the iPhone were a major hint. Apple has retained its title as the coolest brand in Britain, an annual survey reveals today – as luxury names replaced everyday products which enjoyed success during  the recession.

Now in its 12th year, the CoolBrands list, chosen by members of the public and a “council of influencers” including the hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks and the actress Sadie Frost, has repeatedly crowned Apple as the dominant  name. Run by the Centre for Brand Analysis, the list is drawn from more than 10,000 brands.

But while the iPhone and iPad manufacturer has maintained its position at the top, other digital brands fell down the charts. Last year, YouTube was at No 2, while BBC iPlayer was at No 6. This year, YouTube has dropped to sixth, while the iPlayer has dropped to 16th. Google and Twitter placed lower than last year, while Skype dropped out of the top 20 altogether.

CoolBrands said that this year’s swing to luxury brands represented a “correlation with the reviving British economy”. The ice-cream makers Häagen-Dazs and Ben and Jerry’s – which the survey says represent affordable, everyday items – have dropped out of the top 20, while luxury names Aston Martin and Bang & Olufsen have been joined by Rolex, Chanel, Prada and Alexander McQueen, making up a quarter of the top 20.

Stephen Cheliotis, the chairman of the CoolBrands Council, said: “Apple remained No 1 this year but it’s debatable how long it can hold this position in the face of an increasingly competitive set of rivals. Overall the top 20 saw a definite swing back to luxury brands as the affordable everyday brands slipped back.

“Whether it’s due to strong heritage, product quality or quite simply a correlation with the reviving British economy, this year’s CoolBrands list shows an increasing number of luxury brands are back at the top of the cool list, reversing last year’s trend of affordable everyday luxuries dominating.”

Although the value of a list that seemingly includes an arbitrary selection of the largest brands in the UK could appear questionable, CoolBrands insists its evaluation methods are sound. Members of its expert council, comprising 37 opinion formers, awarded each brand a rating from 1 to 10 and were not allowed to score brands with which they had a direct association or with which they were in competition.

Some 3,000 members of the public also voted online. Because “cool is subjective and personal”, neither set of voters was given a definition but were asked to bear in mind factors including style, innovation, originality, authenticity, desirability and uniqueness.