Sector by Sector Focus

What does the future hold?

A summary of each sector underpinning the Top 100 that gives us a picture of the brands that are primed for success, and those that may need reinvention.

Future Brand Index 2021 Technology


Technology has done extremely well: three of this year’s Top Five Risers come from this sector. Unlike previous years, however, when it was consumer-facing tech brands that ruled the roost, this year’s technology success stories are companies that are critical behind-the-scenes enablers of the technology which underpins our everyday lives.

Apple is therefore notable for not only having held onto a spot in the top four since the inception of the FutureBrand Index in 2014 but for also being one of the few customer-facing technology brands left standing in a year which pushed many off their pedestals.

Future Brand Index 2021 Consumer discretionary

Consumer discretionary

Unsurprisingly, companies associated most strongly with a brick and mortar offering have suffered over the last 12 months with the likes of Walmart and McDonald’s falling sharply down the ranking (although we expect to see this rebound next year and moving forward).

In contrast, companies providing luxury goods or online shopping have been positively impacted by the pandemic, as consumer priorities (and access) shifted as a result of lockdown orders. LVMH in particular has benefitted from increased consumer spending on luxury goods and online shopping, jumping 29 places up the FutureBrand Index. Online shopping giants Amazon and Alibaba also experienced a boost, rising 13 and 12 places respectively.

Future Brand Index 2021 Consumer staples

Consumer staples

With the global population experiencing extended and recurring lockdowns over the last 12 months, resulting in a growth of home consumption, it would seem that Consumer Staples have reaped the benefits. PepsiCo and P&G emerged as top risers in this category, jumping 24 and 22 places respectively. As with previous years, ‘Pleasure’ remains this category’s single strongest attribute which is perhaps unsurprising for a year when our sources of pleasure were limited to those housed within our immediate four walls.

Future Brand Index 2021 Healthcare


Healthcare companies have continued to build upon the upwards trend seen in last year’s FutureBrand Index, as they are increasingly perceived as indispensable towards future innovation. Some are coping better in the limelight than others.

For those companies associated with the COVID-19 vaccine, results have been varied – some experienced a boost, whilst others had to endure negative press and public uncertainty. The really good news is that - according to our respondents - Healthcare companies generally remain strongly associated with improving quality of life, whether that be linked to combating the pandemic or not.

Future Brand Index 2021 Financial Services

Financial services

Having experienced a downturn in fortunes at the start of the pandemic – reflected in the bleak outlook reported in our last FutureBrand Index – it’s looking much more positive for Financial Services brands 12 months on. Indeed, the sector has scooped its highest performance score since the FutureBrand Index began in 2014, as a result of the greater need to rely on and trust financial institutions when businesses have been struggling, incomes reduced and jobs lost.

Future Brand Index 2021 Methodology

Our methodology

Now in its seventh year, the FutureBrand Index is a global perception study that reorders PwC’s Global Top 100 Companies by Market Cap on perception strength rather than financial strength.

Unlike most other ratings, the Index offers a rigorous assessment of how future-proof the world’s 100 most prominent companies are, based on the views of a highly informed and highly professional group of specialists.

Using 18 indicators that, in FutureBrand’s experience, provide the most relevant signals of success (including Purpose and Experience), the rankings are determined with precise and proven parameters.